Winchester Brothers Pie Shop: Men of Leftovers
So you’re stuck in the Men of Letters lair, your teleporting errand boy Castiel is out somewhere (probably being tortured by his fellow Angels again,) and there’s nothing in the fridge but some leftover rotisserie chicken, gas station potato wedges, and some mystery cheese.
You’ve got this. Tonight we’re having pie for dinner.
This recipe is as forgiving as Castiel discovering the Winchesters just ended the damn world again. Want to use up more chicken? Go for it. Don’t have any leftover potatoes? Microwave one until it’s cooked through and toss it in there. Hate onion jam? Well, I can’t help you blasphemers, but you can always leave it out. You’re wrong, but I’m not Santa Claus or Chuck, so your sins are irrelevant to me.
Supernatural Pie Recipe: Men of Leftovers
- 1 sheet thawed puff pastry dough
- 2(ish) cups leftover rotisserie chicken
- 2(ish) cups leftover roast potatoes
- 1/2 cup onion jam* (homemade recipe coming soon)
- 1/4 cup goat cheese (honeyed or herbed preferred)
- 6(ish) fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonaded
- 4(ish) large twigs of thyme, little leaves ripped off
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
If your puff pastry dough is too small for your preferred pie pan, gently chastise it with a rolling pin until it stretches to fit your needs.
To transform your leftovers into a pie pretty enough to serve at a roadside diner, start by cutting last night’s leftover baked potatoes into wedges. In a pinch, you can even use frozen potato wedges. Just make sure whatever potatoes you use have that pretty shark fin shape so it looks like something is clawing its way up from the depths of the pie.
Arrange however many wedges you have (I used 8) in a tidy circle so they’re all pointing at the middle. Break another wedge in half and put it in the middle, so it looks like all the other wedges are worshiping it. This keeps the egg binder from sloshing around too much.
Now rip up last night’s leftover chicken and put the shreds between your potato wedges. If you want it extra meaty, use more. If you’re stretching ingredients till your next paycheck, use less. This is a pie, not a fussy incantation spell.
Smear a dab of onion jam on top of each fleshy mound of chicken. Some of you clever folks may be thinking it’d be easier to just smear the jam all over the bottom of the crust. If you do, the moisture will turn your glorious puff pastry crust into a horrifically soggy mess.
Next, sprinkle your goat cheese over the onion jam. I’ve used both honeyed and herbed goat cheese for this, and they’re fabulous. If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, you can substitute brie or some other runny mild cheese. If your brother ate all the fancy cheese as salad toppings or you’re just too broke for cheeses that don’t come from a gas station, go ahead and use some cheap mozzarella shreds. Really, whatever mild white meltable cheese you have in your fridge will work fine.
I’m a big fan of fresh herbs (you can find them in your grocery store’s produce section near Sam’s bagged salads) but if you’re either broke or hate the way fresh herbs remind you that you’re flavoring your food with leaves, you can always substitute 2 tsp dried basil and 1 tsp dried thyme.
Regardless of what condition your herbs are in, dump them in a bowl. Follow them up with your eggs, cream, and salt, then take out your day’s aggression by beating the hell out of it all with a whisk. You want the mix mad, frothy, and so yellow it looks like the eggs pissed themselves from fear when they saw you coming.
This aerates the eggs, which is fancy talk for adding air bubbles so the cooked eggs get all fluffy. More importantly, it bruises your herbs in the eggs – where you want to release all the flavor – instead of in your hands. Sure, smelling like basil and thyme all day is awesome. If you whistle, maybe birds and squirrels will come to your window and help you with chores. To get the most flavor from your herbs, really beat the living daylights out of them in a wet, fatty environment (like, say, eggs and heavy cream) then leave their bruised and broken bodies to soak for at least 5-10 minutes. (Longer for dried herbs.)
Once the herbs have had a good soak, attack them with the whisk one more time, just to add a few more bubbles, then pour the whole mess over all the things you artfully arranged in the pie tin. If the edges of your potatoes aren’t sticking up over the batter, tug them up, and maybe shove a shred of chicken under the drowned half to hold them in place.
Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, turning once halfway. Don’t panic if the crust hasn’t risen when you turn the pie. At this temperature, it’ll ease up instead of racing up. Your pie is done when the puff pastry crust looks like it’s trying to escape the pie tin and your eggs are a lovely golden brown.
If you’re feeling arty, you can sprinkle a little more fresh herbs and kosher salt on top, but don’t stress. This thing may be made out of leftovers, but that five minutes you took to arrange the ingredients makes a damn impressive looking pie.
Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. I like to cut mine so each slice has a potato wedge sticking up in the middle, like the pie is giving you the finger before being eaten.
The cream and carbs make this a lot more filling than it looks. One slice makes a hearty lunch while a slice plus a couple of veggie sides makes a nice dinner. It’s great both fresh and hot from the oven or as cold leftovers (no need to reheat.)
Substitute a gluten free frozen pie crust for the puff pastry. To make sure the wet ingredients don’t soak through, follow the pie crust packaging’s directions to blind bake the crust (this varies depending on what they’ve substituted for flour.) Once you’ve blind baked the crust, follow along with the rest of the recipe. You’ll want to use a pie shield or some aluminum foil to protect the edges while baking.
Substitute peeled, cooked sweet potatoes for the white potatoes. Substitute almond milk for the heavy cream. Eliminate the goat cheese.
In lieu of a crust, grab two more eggs, whisk the heck out of them, and pour them in a well buttered pan. Let them cook until the bottom and edges are completely done and most of the egg is set, but the middle is still a little runny. You’re basically just making an open faced omelet here. Before cooking, feel free to add extra salt, pepper, or herbs to taste. Lay your open faced omelet on the bottom of a pie pan. Don’t worry if it doesn’t extend up the sides – you really only need to cover the bottom. This gives your chicken and potatoes something to rest on. That makes getting them out of the pan in a single pie shaped wedge infinitely easier.
Substitute the vegan protein of your choice for the chicken. Tempeh or chick’n work particularly well. Leave out the goat cheese.
Instead of eggs and cream, add the following to a blender and let it whir away until you have a smooth liquid:
8 oz firm tofu, well drained
½ cup almond or soy milk
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp kosher salt
Don’t leave out the vegetable oil! If you turn this into a totally fat free recipe, it really won’t taste right. A little fat goes a long way when enhancing flavor.
Add your herbs to the liquid and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. Don’t blend them. You’ll end up with a suspicious green slurry. Once your herbs have soaked into the soy, pour the liquid over your pie’s ingredients and bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes. Starting at 30 minutes, check for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the middle to see if everything is set. Your cooking time will vary a lot depending on how densely you packed the potatoes and chick’n, so after half an hour, be prepared to check every 5 minutes until it’s done. Since there’s so little fat, you really don’t want to let it overbake.
As of this writing, Pepperidge Farm’s frozen puff pastry sheets are vegan, so if you go with the name brand, there’s no need for a special crust.
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