white bean, pancetta and swiss chard pot pies

Pancetta white bean and chard pot piesMan, am I loving our CSA lately! It’s really encouraged (forced?) us to eat more fresh vegetables, and to try ones we haven’t had before (I feel like I’m repeating myself here – I’m like a walking CSA advertisement lately. Sorry about that.  Gotta blog what you’re actually eating, right?)  In this case, it was the Swiss chard that was new to us – although I’d heard of it, and seen recipes that called for it, I’d never used it before, preferring to just substitute some baby spinach in it’s place.  Well, when it comes to the CSA you take what you get – and in this case, I’m so glad we did!

This was also my first time making any kind of pot pie, and what a great intro to them it was.  We both loved this dish – well, Daren loved it once he got over the fact that it wasn’t chicken pot pie.  Apparently he has selective reading abilities to go along with his selective hearing – when he asked what I was making, I pulled up the picture (complete WITH the name of the recipe) on my phone.  He immediately started going on about how much he loves chicken pot pie, until I finally had to interrupt him and point out that there was, in fact, no chicken in the recipe :)  I have to say though, I think I preferred this to chicken pot pie – there was just so much flavor in it! I’m pretty sure I said “Man, this is SO good!” at least 5 times last night… And while it’s not EXACTLY healthy, what with the bacon and pie crust, the veggies in it should counteract that at least somewhat, right? Sure, why not… Although, speaking of the pancetta, you could easily eliminate that and use vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish.  Also, if you can’t find pancetta, you can easily substitute thick-cut bacon.  That’s what I did here, since the grocery store I was at didn’t carry pancetta and although I knew where I could get some, I wanted to cap my shopping trip at 1 grocery store for the day.

I had a tiny smidge of trouble with the pie crust, namely that it kept breaking in the middle and falling down into the filling.  No idea why that was happening – maybe the lid was too high off of the filling?  No worries though, it tasted just as delicious even though the pictures weren’t as pretty as they could have been :)  Here’s what it looked like before baking, where the crust is still intact:

pancetta white bean and chard pot pies 2If I can ever get the crust not to break, I think these would be a great dish for a dinner party.  Most people love comfort food, but these seem just a little classier than your typical pot pie.  Anyone want to come over so I have a good excuse to make them again?

Ingredients

For the lids:

  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 13 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 6 tablespoons (90 grams) sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 oz. 1/4-inch-diced pancetta (or thick-cut bacon)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves from 1 bundle (about 4 cups)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 tbsp. (25 grams) all- purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, cooked and drained, or about one and a half 15.5- ounce cans

Directions

To make the lids, combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry blender, 2 knives or your fingertips to cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, and water, then pour it into the butter-flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir the wet and the dry together until a craggy dough forms. Knead the dough by hand a few times until it forms a cohesive ball. Pat it into a flattish disk, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour – or up to 2 days.

To make the filling, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan or Dutch oven.  Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and crispy on all sides.  Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon and set aside (you may want to drain it on top of a paper towel here).  Add the onions, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt to the oil/pancetta drippings in the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened – about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and continue to cook for 30-60 seconds.  Add the greens and cook another 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted.  Transfer all of the vegetables to the bowl with the pancetta and set aside.

Gently wipe out the pot with a paper towel, leaving whatever drippings are stuck to the pan.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the pan.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk together until combined.  Continue to cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to take on some color.  Whisk in the broth, one ladleful at a time, stirring until fully mixed between additions.  Once you’ve added about a third of the broth, you can continue to add it in larger additions – about 2-3 ladlefuls at a time.

Once all of the broth is incorporated, bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened up.  Stir the cannellini beans and the rest of the vegetables into the sauce and remove from the heat.  Preheat your oven to 375°F.

To assemble, ladle the filling into 2-cup soup crocks or oven-proof bowls.  Divide the dough for the lids into 4 pieces, and roll each out on a lightly floured surface until they cover the crocks with about a 1-inch overhang.  Whisk the egg and 1 tbsp. of water together in a small bowl to create the egg wash, then brush some around the rim of the soup crocks to help hold the lids in place.  Drape the lids over the crocks and press gently around the rim to adhere.  Brush the tops of the lids with egg wash and cut vents to allow the steam to escape.  Bake the pot pies in the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.  Enjoy!

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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