Main Course

Pancetta, White Bean & Swiss Chard Pot Pies

6 Comments 23 November 2012

The bet compliment you can get when cooking is your loved ones telling you with heavy emphasis that they want to have this or that dish again. As soon as possible. That’s what happened after the hubby, sis food blogging partner and I sampled these pot pies for lunch. I was cleaning up afterward at the sink and hubby made his preferences known quite suddenly at my shoulder. It scared the crap out of me when he did; he kind of sneaked up on me. When my heart slowed down I just smiled and said, “No problem.”

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Pot pie always seemed a little daunting to me because, let’s face it, it’s a bit more work than a lot of comfort food recipes.

The good news is it’s totally 100% completely absolutely for sure sure worth it.

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You start by making the lid. From scratch. I had to mentally slap my hand from reaching for the ready-made pie crust in the fridge. This one isn’t hard to make, I’m just lazy that way.

You start with your flour mixture and some cubed, cold butter.

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Then you take a pastry blender tool and just mash that butter to hell and back into the flour. To hell and back takes about ten minutes or so, until the butter is pretty finely mixed in, like small granules or cous cous. Usually recipes with these kinds of instructions are OK with a few larger chunks of butter, but we did this one a lot finer than usual.

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And then because the dough is still a little shaggy, a lot like a scone dough, get your hands in there and bring it together the rest of the way, just enough to form the dough into a ball. Don’t over mix it. Wrap that in plastic wrap really well and pat it into a flat-ish circle before storing the fridge for at least an hour.

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While the lid dough chills like the most, it’s time to get going on the innards. Pancetta is an amazing little meat. It’s incredinly flavor-packed and a little does go a long way because it’s pretty salty as well.

We may have put more in than called for…but who’s really complaining about that. Pffft.

It’s also got some great stuff like carrots and celery, essential taste providers in many soups, stews and such.

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So then you just do the saute thing, cooking some things here, adding in others there. The swiss chard gets added in last just until it wilts.

We. Love. Swiss chard. A lot.

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After the veggies, you make a really delicious, thickened sauce beginning with a roux. The beans are added in after the veggies and that’s a filling, folks!

A really intensely wow-on-the-tongue filling. Honestly, Chicken Pot Pie is nothing compared to this.

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Time to roll out the dough for your lids. This dough was wonderful and rolled out great. Though the directions didn’t say to, you will need to flour your surface a little so it doesn’t stick.

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In goes that awesome pot pie filling into some oven-safe bowls. Weeeeee!

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Drape the lids over the bowls and trim off any if necessary, being sure to press the lids slightly onto the bowls. An egg wash on the rims of the bowls helps the lids to stick.

Oh, and don’t worry if these don’t look perfect, while assembling or after baking. Pot pie is a rustic dish, That means imperfection is A-OK.

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And you’re ready to be baked, little pot pies! We can’t wait to eat you!

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These are so filling that you don’t really need anything with it. It’s got all you need riiiiight inside that bowl.

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After sitting down and sinking into all the wonderful taste sensations this pot pie offered, it was as if the time making them melted away. Who cares how long it takes when it tastes so. damn. good. Am I right? YES. The pastry lids are perfectly buttery and flaky and fantastic mixed with the filling. The filling itself is…it’s just amazing. I can’t really describe it, but it’s rich and has a great texture because the pancetta is a little crisp, the bans soft and the swiss chard not at all mushy. It’s just…it’s pretty much a meal worth crying over. It’s that good.

Pancetta, White Bean & Swiss Chard Pot Pies

from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cook Time: about 1 hour    Level: Easy    Serves: 4

For the lid:

  • 2 cups all- purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 13 tablespoons (1 stick plus 5 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream or whole Greek yogurt (i.e., a strained
  • yogurt)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 4 ounces (3/4 to 1 cup) 1/4-inch-diced pancetta
  • 1 large or 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely chopped
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Thinly sliced Swiss chard leaves from an 8- to 10-ounce
  • bundle (4 cups); if leaves are very wide, you can halve them lengthwise
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups sodium- free or low- sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups white beans, cooked and drained, or from one and a third 15.5- ounce
  • cans

To make the lids:

In a large, wide bowl (preferably one that you can get your hands into), combine the fl our and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut them up and into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles. Keep breaking up the bits of butter until the texture is like uncooked couscous. In a small dish, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, and water, and combine it with the butter-flour mixture. Using a flexible spatula, stir the wet and the dry together until a craggy dough forms. If needed, get your hands into the bowl to knead it a few times into one big ball. Pat it into a flattish ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

To make the filling:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium- high heat in a large, wide saucepan, and then add the pancetta. Brown the pancetta, turning it frequently, so that it colors and crisps on all sides; this takes about 10 minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon, and drain it on paper towels before transferring to a medium bowl. Leave the heat on and the renderings in the pan. Add an additional tablespoon of olive oil if needed and heat it until it is shimmering. Add onions, carrot, celery, red pepper flakes, and a few pinches of salt, and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are softened and begin to take on color, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the greens and cook until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with the additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Transfer all of the cooked vegetables to the bowl with the pancetta, and set aside.

To make the sauce:

Wipe out the large saucepan; don’t worry if any bits remain stuck to the bottom. Then melt the butter in the saucepan over medium- low heat. Add the flour, and stir with a whisk until combined. Continue cooking for 2 minutes, stirring the whole time, until it begins to take on a little color. Whisk in the broth, one ladleful at a time, mixing completely between additions. Once you’ve added one- third of the broth, you can begin to add the rest more quickly, two to three ladlefuls at a time; at this point you can scrape up any bits that were stuck to the bottom — they’ll add great flavor.

Once all of the broth is added, stirring the whole time, bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cook the sauce until it is thickened and gravylike, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the white beans and reserved vegetables into the sauce.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Assemble and cook:

Divide the filling between four ovenproof 2-cup bowls. (You’ll have about 1 1/2 cups filling in each.) Set the bowls on a baking pan. Divide the dough into four pieces, and roll it out into rounds that will cover your bowls with an overhang, or about 1 inch wider in diameter than your bowls. Whisk the egg wash and brush it lightly around the top rim of your bowls (to keep the lid glued on; nobody likes losing their lid!) and drape the pastry over each, pressing gently to adhere it. Brush the lids with egg wash, then cut decorative vents (smaller than mine, please, as they led to lots of draping) in each to help steam escape. Bake until crust is lightly bronzed and filling is bubbling, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Things you can do ahead:

The dough, wrapped twice in plastic wrap and slipped into a freezer bag, will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, and for a couple months in the freezer. The filling can be made up to a day in advance and stored in a covered container in the fridge.


Our lids kind of came undone a little as they cooked and  a couple sagged into the filling – they were still delicious.

If your a vegetarian you can leave out the pancetta.

Personally, wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. It was just that good.

Decided to mark this recipe as easy despite how many steps and the time it takes. It really is easy – to us. That might vary with others.

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- who has written 347 posts on Full Fork Ahead.

Wife, mom, indulgent reader and Day Job Do-er, who occasionally likes to think she can cook. Sometimes she's right, sometimes she's wrong.

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6 Comments so far

  1. Kim says:

    Hands DOWN, best damn pot pie evah! And I don’t even like them! Glad we made this.

  2. Rachael says:

    SO, I was planning to make this delicious-looking recipe the other night. I made the pie crust the night before, and it was sitting in the fridge, and I started assembling the filling — but then I got really, really lazy, and I just used the greens to make a stove-top mac and cheese with greens. It was a week night, and I was starving.

    The point of my comment: I ultimately used the pie crust from this recipe to make an apple pie a few days later, because I didn’t want to waste it, and it was a really, really good crust! I’ve never put anything but butter, flour, water and a pinch of salt in my pie crusts, but I will be using this recipe from now until forever. I did use my food processor to construct it, though.

    And someday, I’ll try the full recipe…

    • KMont says:

      OK, I admit I found your comment funny. And I really don’t blame you at all for caving to your stomach’s demands and getting something else done quicker. 😀 The recipe was killing us as it cooked, the smells are divine. And you’re spot on about the crust, it IS killer. So much so that the next time I make these pot pies, I’m baking the crust scraps, too, to throw in even MORE crust with the filling. Oh yeaaah.

      • Rachael says:

        It took me over a year, but I finally came back to this recipe, which has been patiently waiting on my Pinterest recipes board. Totally worth the time expenditure. This was amazing. It’s just me and my bf, so I thought about halving the recipe…but I’m so glad I didn’t. The size of my ramekins plus this recipe gave me six. That’s three delicious dinners for the two of us. And oh man, are these good. I couldn’t find good looking chard at the store, so I subbed kale. Thanks for posting this recipe. Yum!

  3. Amanda says:

    OMG!! SO GOOD!!! This made it to the following week’s meal plan as well!! EVERYONE in my household loved it! And I have some picky eaters! Thanks so much!

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