Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuna Pot Pie

Everyone knows about chicken pot pie, but have you ever heard of tuna pot pie? I remember it from when I was a kid, but even then it was pretty rare. Stores would have them sometimes, but not often. And, weird kid that I was, I loved them.

I told my husband that I was going to make tuna pot pies, but he'd never heard of them. And we grew up in the same area. So those pot pies were pretty rare, indeed.

The tuna pot pies I remembered were a lot like the chicken and turkey pot pies, with a creamy sauce and vegetables in a pastry crust. But, of course, with tuna.

I made a standard pastry crust, but with less sugar than I'd have used for a sweet pie. Since I was working with 5-inch pie dishes that I hadn't used for pie before, I wasn't sure how much pastry crust I'd need so, I made a bit extra. I used 3 cups of flour, 2 1/2 sticks of butter, a teaspoon each of salt and sugar and enough water for it to come together. That was enough for 2 pies, and probably would have been enough for three - I had plenty of scraps left.

On the other hand, the filling I made fit perfectly into the two pies.

However, the two pies would have been enough for 4 people. Or maybe we're just not as hungry as we used to be. They looked like a meal-sized before I filled them, but we each ate half of ours, so there will be leftovers. If you have smaller pie pans, make four, and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

For the sauce, I made a white gravy (a roux, then added milk.) A vegetable or seafood stock would also be fine, if you happen to have one instead of the milk. Plain water might work if you didn't have any other options, since the tuna adds its own flavor. I used frozen vegetables, but this would be a fine way to use up leftover vegetables.

Tuna Pot Pie

Pastry crust (for double-crust pie)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk, water, stock, or a combination
1 6-ounce can tuna, drained
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
1 cup frozen pearl onions
Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt the butter in a medium pan and add the olive oil. Slice or chop the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, and add them to the pan. Cook until soft and slightly browned. Add the flour and stir to combine. Since the mushrooms will have absorbed some of the oil, you might not have enough fat to make a roux. Add a little more olive oil, if needed.

Add the liquid and cook until thickened. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. Take the mixture off the heat and transfer it to a bowl. Add the tuna and frozen vegetables and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

The frozen vegetables should chill the mixture sufficiently to fill the pie shells without melting the butter, but if it's still warm, refrigerate it to cool it further.

Like the pie plates with pastry, then add the cooled tuna-vegetable mixture. Top with another sheet of pastry and trim and crimp the edges, and cut vent holes.

Bake at 425 degrees until the top is nicely browned and the filling is hot and bubbly.

I'm particularly pleased with how flaky the crust was on these.


Anonymous said...

If you want to relive the taste of the old store-bought tuna pot pies, try this:

Jay’s Tuna Pot Pies

1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
3 Tbs butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dill weed
1/8 tsp pepper
3 cups chicken broth
3 5 oz Cans tuna, drained
1 cup cooked peas and diced carrots
3/4 cup cooked, diced red potatoes (optional)
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
Plain Pastry (enough for 8 pies)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 to 8 Tbs cold water


1. Cook celery, onion, and green pepper in butter till tender. Blend in flour, salt, seasoning, and pepper. Stir in broth all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Stir in tuna, vegetables, and pimiento. Divide mixture into eight 4¼ x 1-inch round pie pans (about 3/4 cup each).

2. Stir together flour and salt; cut in shortening till pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon water over part of the mixture. Gently toss with fork; push to side of bowl. Repeat till all is moistened. Form dough into a ball, then divide into 8 equal parts.
On floured surface roll each part into a 5-inch circle.

3. Place one circle atop each pie; seal to edge of pan. Cut slits in top for escape of steam. Brush with a little milk. Bake, uncovered, at 425° till golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cover edges with foil last few minutes of baking, if needed, to prevent over-browning. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe Type

For double crust pies, double the pastry recipe and line each pan with a pastry circle before dividing mixture into pans.

To freeze; Do not cut slits or brush with milk until ready to bake. Wrap. label, and freeze unbaked pies. Bake frozen pies at 425° for 45 minutes. Or, thaw in refrigerator 5 hours; bake at 425° for 35 minutes.

LuluIzzyCro said...

I remember tuna pot pies too whenI was a kid in NYC. I don't know why the beef, chicken and turkey prevailed and the tuna ones went away for good. In the end it is like tuna-a-la-king inside a pie crust. Thank you for the recipe, I will make one soon. I love tuna, my grandmother used to say I should write a cookbook and title it "1001 ways to eat tuna" and this is definitely one of the top ways!!

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