Dinner inspiration can come from anywhere, even the gym. I happened to be running on a treadmill and watching the Food Network (oh the irony); where the Barefoot Contessa was making a Seafood Pot Pie.
I adore Miss Ina, and love her approach to food; but Pot Pie? I wasn’t sure. Pot Pie is one of those “American” foods that I just have not had a place for in my life; much like Hamburger Helper or Casseroles (oh wait). So imagine my surprise as I watched Ina carefully cook fresh seafood and petite vegetables into a creamy haze and top with a decadent, delicate, butter-filled crust…..drool.
Blame the post-run hunger; but I could not get this dinner out of my mind.
So I got it going in my kitchen.
Because I’m me, and not a Barefoot Contessa, I made some adjustments.
I didn’t make the “pie” part of the pot pie. Crust? Is not my thing. I used a panko bread crumb topping and loved it (also, not having to make pastry cuts down on the prep time). I also swapped out the vegetables and the seafood for what I had on-hand, so um, yeah, this is really nothing like the Barefoot Contessa’s.
Shrimp & Vegetable Pot Pie
Adapted from this recipe
2 tbs butter
1 fennel bulb, diced (remove stalks and outer layer)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1/4 c. Whole Wheat pastry flour (or All-Purpose flour)
1/4c. White Wine (anything that you’re drinking with dinner)
4 c. seafood or vegetable stock
1 lb of raw, de-veined, de-tailed shrimp
3 c. spinach, chopped
1 lb asparagus, cleaned, trimmed and chopped
1 (8oz) container button mushroom, cleaned and chopped
1 tsp Sea Salt (more to taste)
1 tsp Cracked Pepper (more to taste)
2 c. milk (or half-half, or heavy cream)
1 c. panko bread crumbs
Sea Salt, Cracked Pepper
¼ c. chopped parsley (optional)
2 tbs cold butter, diced
Melt the butter in a deep saucepan pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and fennel and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are soft. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, bring the fish or vegetable stock to a simmer in a large saucepan. Add the shrimp and cook for a few minutes, just until barely opaque.
Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a cutting board, reserving the stock. Give the shrimp a rough chop if they’re extra-large or leave them whole if you prefer.
When the flour is cooked in the onion and fennel mixture, deglaze the pan with wine and allow the alcohol to cook off (about 1-2 minutes, all you’ll be left with is aroma, not that alcohol smell). Be sure to stir in all the flour, so it’s thoroughly incorporated. Slowly add the warmed stock salt/ pepper and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the milk. If it’s looking a little thin, whisk in 1-2 tbs of flour. Add cooked shrimp, asparagus, mushrooms and spinach. Stir together to warm everything through. Meanwhile combine bread crumbs, sea salt, pepper and parsley in a small bowl. Pour the seafood mixture into a lightly greased 9×11 baking dish. Cover liberally with panko crumbs. Dot with cold butter. Bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are bubbly and crumbs are browned. Serves 4. Serve alongside wilted rainbow chard.