Tuna Pot Pie

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Two tuna pot pies made in 5″ individual pie pans.

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Ready for the oven.

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Guilty pleasures. We all have them. When it comes to food, I have a number of them, but I attribute one directly to my mother.

My mother was a wonderful cook who fed us well. She took a lot of pride in creating healthy, honest food for us. She seldom purchased pre-packaged foods and made most things from scratch. Sure there was Campbell’s cream of tomato soup with grilled cheese for a quick lunch during busy times, but my mother would never use Hamburger Helper or that blue box of macaroni and cheese. What she would buy though were frozen pot pies. Specifically, Banquet frozen tuna pot pies. I loved them! My sister loved them. My father would eat two when she made them.

I can’t quite figure out why a mother would refuse to buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because “her kids were never going to eat out of a box” yet she had no problem buying tuna pot pies.

Banquet stopped production of the tuna pot pie at some point. They still make chicken, beef, and turkey, but they are not nearly as good. My mother tried her hand at making her own tuna pot pie but, like all the other recipes I have found, it was very dry and the flavor just wasn’t there. Banquet tuna pot pies had a very gooey, saucy filling with just the right tuna, peas, and carrot ratio. Swanson had a tuna pot pie, but I did not care for them, mainly because Swanson decided to forgo the bottom crust and only had a top crust. They too stopped production around the same time.

For years, I have been on mission to recreate this bit of childhood comfort food, my guilty pleasure. All the recipes I found did not have that sauciness or were made using cans of gloppy, salt laden cream of mushroom soup. They certainly did not taste like the Banquet tuna pot pies I remember. After many trials and errors, I believe I have come up with a recipe for a tuna pot pie that rivals the taste and saucy filling I remember.

Here is what I did:

Tuna Pot Pie

Ingredients

Pie crust (top and bottom crust for one 9 inch or two 5 inch pies)

¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup all purpose flour (30 grams)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup whole milk
1 bay leaf
2 5 ounce cans tuna (drained)
2 ounces sliced Pimiento peppers
1 cup frozen mixed peas and carrots
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Melt butter in 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly and takes on a nutty aroma; approximately 5 minutes. Slowly stir in vegetable broth and then milk. Add bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in tuna, then Pimiento peppers, then frozen peas and carrots. Taste and season accordingly with salt and pepper.

Roll out bottom pie crust to fit either one 9 inch pie pan or two 5 inch pie pans. Place bottom crust in pie pan(s). Remove bay leaf and spoon filling into bottom crust. Roll out top crust and gently place crust over filling; fold edge under and crimp, sealing to bottom crust. Cut slits in top crust. Bake 15 minutes at 450°F. Reduce heat to 350°F and continue baking another 30 to 35 minutes. If crust is getting too brown, cover pies with aluminum foil.

Remove from oven and let cool 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Lemon-Rosemary Grilled Yellowfin Tuna Steaks


Lemon zest, rosemary, and garlic ready to be minced.


Lemon zest, rosemary, and garlic along with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper ready to be pressed onto the tuna steaks.

I really like tuna but not simply out of a can, although canned tuna has its merits. When I say I like tuna, I’m referring to tuna steaks: pan seared, broiled, or grilled. They are so easy and quick to cook. A quick four to six minutes per side is all it takes. Yes, they will be pink in the middle but over cooked tuna is mortal sin.

Here’s what I did tonight:

Ingredients

2 fresh tuna steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and approximately 1-inch thick
1 lemon, zested
fresh rosemary, about 2 large sprigs with leaves stripped from stem
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Coarse salt and black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Rinse and pat tuna steaks dry. Zest lemon on top of cutting board into a small mound. Place rosemary leaves on top of zest. Slightly crush garlic and place on top of rosemary. Finely chop the garlic, rosemary and lemon zest. About half-way through, season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle just enough olive oil over the tuna steaks to coat each side. Rub herb and garlic mixture into fish, while lightly pressing the mixture into the flesh and coating pieces evenly on each side. Let stand 10 minutes.

Grill tuna steaks no more than six minutes on each side over medium high heat on grill.

Tuna v.2: Pan Seared Tuna with Avocado

Tonight while in a store picking up a few last minute items needed to make tonight’s dinner I ran into a friend. She asked what I was making for dinner and I told her seared tuna steaks with avocado. Her response was, “You must have a lot more time than I do!” Here’s the funny thing: I returned home a little after six, changed clothes, checked on the batch of Sauvignon blanc wine I have fermenting and then started cooking. Susan and I were finished eating and cleaning up before seven.

Cooking tuna steaks are so quick; two minutes per side and they’re done. These were absolutely delicious.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
juice from 2 limes
¼ cup soy sauce
Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup walnut oil
2 tablespoons Canola or similar high temperature oil
2 Ahi Tuna steaks
1 ripe avocado
 
Directions 
In a bowl, whisk together the cilantro, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and walnut oil. Set aside.
Place a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and coat with two tablespoons of Canola oil. Sear the tuna for two minutes on each side.
Transfer the seared tuna to plates and serve with the sliced avocado. Drizzle the sauce over the fish and avocado.