Executive chef Michael Miller of the Silicon Valley Capital Club in San Jose, Calif., assures that single-dish meals are the epitome of comfort food. His fragrant, buttery potpie is so sublime, it will be a keeper for the recipe file. “Dried cherries are festive, a great supporting cast member to the starring duck, while chestnuts provide a seasonal familiarity to the potpie.”
3 duck legs and thighs, meat only (cooked confit-style or roasted and shredded)
1 cup parsnips, sliced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup roasted chestnuts, sliced
1 cup merlot or pinot noir
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
1-3/4 cups beef broth
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 unbaked 9-inch pie crusts
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine duck meat, parsnips, cherries, and chestnuts. Add wine and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove duck mixture from saucepan and set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat butter over medium heat and cook onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Slowly stir in beef broth and cream. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add duck meat to saucepan and combine. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
Divide prepared dough into six equal pieces. Roll out pieces to 7-inch rounds on lightly floured surface. Divide warm filling from saucepan among six 2-cup soufflé dishes. Cover each dish with one dough round. Press dough overhang to side of dish to adhere; crimp attractively. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Cut slits into tops of pies. Bake on a baking sheet for 30-35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 6 servings
CHEF’S SECRET: “Slow-roasting the duck will be just as tasty as using the traditional duck confit, and you’ll save money by not having to buy duck fat.”