THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website,

Archive for February 5, 2014

TIP OF THE DAY: Pot Pie Isn’t Always A Pie

Pot pie (also spelled potpie) is a favorite American comfort food. But the name is misappropriated. Originally, “pot pie” referred to a crustless mixture of meat pie ingredients and noodles, stewed in a pot on the stove top.

Over time, the term became used to designate a meat pie with conventional crusts, baked in the oven in a deep pie plate or casserole dish. There’s more on the history of meat pies below.

The pot pie can be baked without a bottom crust but with a conventional top crust or a biscuit topping (the dough is dropped onto the top), like a cobbler. Personally, we prefer a crisp biscuit to a crust.

Here’s a recipe for a “crustless” pot pie using biscuits comes to us from; the original recipe was sent to them by Prep time is 1 hour, cook time is 1 hours, 35 minutes.


Ingredients For 6 Servings

For The Filling

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-1/4 pound stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 12 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2/3 cup frozen of fresh shelled peas
  • 1-2 red potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary


    Pot pie without the pie: Use biscuits instead. Photo courtesy

    For The Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2-1/4 cup beef broth
    For The Biscuits

  • 1-2 baked russet potatoes
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or freshly ground spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) very cold or frozen butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons very finely minced fresh rosemary


    Fresh rosemary makes a difference. Photo
    courtesy Burpee.


    Preparation: Filling

    1. HEAT the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or pan. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat until it is browned on all sides. Remove and set aside on a plate.

    2. ADD onion to the pan, with additional oil as necessary. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.

    3. RETURN beef to the pan and add the red wine to deglaze, taking care to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan as they offer a lot of flavor (see how to deglaze a pan). Cover and cook over low heat for 30-40 minutes, or until beef is tender. (Optional technique: use a pressure cooker on high pressure for 10 minutes.) Meanwhile…

    4. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F and prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, add the butter and melt. Whisk in the flour, then the milk and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.


    5. UNCOVER and add the carrots, celery, potatoes and parsnips. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas. Stir in the sauce.

    6. POUR the ingredients into a large casserole dish and top with the uncooked biscuits (recipe below). Bake for 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
    Preparation: Biscuits

    1. REMOVE the flesh from the baked potatoes. Mash it with a fork or press it through a potato ricer. This will take 1-2 potatoes and should result in a total of 1/2 cup of potato. In a small mixing bowl, combine the 1/2 cup potato with the buttermilk. Whisk until smooth and set aside.

    2. COMBINE in a medium bowl the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until well sifted. Cut the butter into the flour mixture either using two knives, a pastry blender, or a cheese grater (to grate frozen butter into the flour mixture). Add the rosemary and stir to combine.

    3. MAKE a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk potato mixture. Stir until combined, and then when you can’t stir it anymore, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead until you can form a rough ball.

    4. FLATTEN the dough into a circle about 1/2-3/4 inch in thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass (about 2-1/2″ to 3″ in diameter for the listed baking time) turned upside down, cut as many rounds as you can. Using the dough scraps, form another circle of the same thickness.

    Meat pies likely date back to milling of flour in ancient times—but before the invention of pie plates. Very thick crusts were used as baking vessels, and were popular banquet fare during the Roman Empire.

    By the 16th century, the English gentry revived the ancient custom of meat pies. Venison was the meat of choice. The recipe crossed the pond to America, where it became as American as…pot pie! Chicken, beef and vegetable pot pies are the most common; but if you have venison, by all means enjoy a historic venison pot pie.


    Comments off

    RECIPE: Beet Tartare

    Deep red beets are a natural for Valentine’s Day. In fact, our heart beets for them.

    Top chefs agree. Here’s a recipe from one of our favorite Top Chef finalists, Fabio Viviani.

    Among his other pursuits, Chef Fabio serves as the brand ambassador for Bertolli Olive Oil (which happens to be the world’s number one brand). He is also the host of the award-winning web series “Chow Ciao!” on Yahoo!

    We can’t get to Fabio’s Firenze Osteria in North Hollywood, California; but we can whip up his recipe.

    Fabio serves the beet tartare with lobster tail poached in olive oil. You can substitute shrimp for the lobster; or serve the tartare as a side or a first course, presented with whatever you like.

    Prep and cooking time: 45 minutes.



    Beet tartare (under the edible flower) and poached lobster. Photo courtesy Fabio Viviani.


    Ingredients For 1 Serving

  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 lobster tail (or equivalent amount of shrimp)
  • 1 large red beet, parboiled until fork tender
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • Optional garnish: edible flower, fresh herbs


    We love fresh beets, but they are one of the
    rare vegetables where the precooked,
    plastic-packaged or canned versions taste
    just as good. Photo courtesy Good Eggs.



    1. PREPARE the beets: Dice the beets into small pieces so they resemble chopped tuna. Place in a bowl and add the shallots, orange zest, mustard, vinegar and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    2. PREPARE the lobster: Place the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and 2 sprigs of thyme into a small pot and place over low heat. Once the garlic starts to sizzle, add the lobster. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the lobster is cooked through (but not overcooked—it will be tough and dry). Remove and set aside.

    3. PLATE: Add the diced beets to a mold or ramekin; place on the plate with the lobster and garnish as desired.



    Steak tartare, or tartar steak, is a meat dish* named after the legend that Tartars† did not have time to cook their meat, so ate it raw on horseback.

    Steak tartare is made from finely chopped or minced raw beef or horse meat, plus seasonings. With its growing popularity over the last 30 or so years, other recipes have adopted the name. Salmon tartare, tomato, tuna tartar are some examples.

    *The typical recipe is round raw beef mixed with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce and a raw egg, served with toast points. A variation, tartare aller-retour, is tartare patty lightly seared on one side. Steak tartare is often served with frites (French fries). In Belgium, the dish is known as filet américain. American? What happened to the Tartars?

    †The Tartars, also spelled Tatars, are an ethnic group in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. Most Tatars live in the Russian Federation. To Americans, the most famous of the Tartars is Genghis Khan, whose troops invaded Europe in the 13th century. The most famous Tartar-American is the actor Charles Bronson.


    Comments off

    © Copyright 2005-2017 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.