April 4, 2009

Bison Turnip Pot Pie


It doesn’t look very fancy. The name isn’t very sophisticated. But this is one of the best things I have made. Ever.

If I wasn’t so full from brunch right now,  just the thought of this would make me want some, right now.

With the cold weather still hanging on here in Alberta, I turned to our Deborah Madison book for some inspiration about what to do with all the root vegetables. Root vegetables are a steady part of our diet, but it can be tough coming up with new ways to cook them.

I’ve also been looking for new recipes for ground meat. It’s one of the cheapest ways to buy meat at the farmers’ market, so we usually pick up a couple of packages every week.

With this recipe, I managed to combine both in one delicious, dough-topped package. I started with Deborah’s recipe for Braised Turnips with Thyme, and decided to add a pie crust lid. I had never made a pot pie before, never even considered making one, but I was excited. Deborah says that you can basically take any stew and turn it into a pot pie. Why hadn’t I thought of that?

We had some ground bison sitting in the fridge that we needed to use up, so I just threw it in with the turnips.


The result was creamy and flavourful, full of turnips and bison in a delicious sauce with a yummy crust. This may sound like an odd combination for a pot pie, and I realize that ground meat isn’t really standard for one either. But trust me, this works. I’m sure it would be great with beef too.

Since it was my first pot pie, I didn’t take the care to make sure the crust went all the way to the edges of the casserole dish, so the stew leaked out a little and bubbled out onto the top of the crust. No big deal, but next time I’ll be sure to seal it tightly.


For a recipe full of simple ingredients, this dish was packed with flavour and had a wonderful homey, cozy winter feel. Perfect for the beginning of Spring in Edmonton!

Turnip Bison Pot Pie

Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

1/2 pound to 1 pound ground bison or beef (I used one pound because I wanted to use it up, but 1/2 pound would be enough, and I’m sure it would be great without meat as well)

2 pounds turnips or rutubagas
1 to 2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot cut into medium dice
4 thyme sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cream or crème fraîche (you could probably use milk instead)

pie crust recipe (I honestly can’t remember if I used the galette dough recipe or pie crust recipe. Either way, any standard pie crust recipe will do.)

Brown the bison in a skillet until cooked most of the way. Remove to a plate.

If you’re using storage turnips, peel them thickly, cut them into sixths, and parboil in salted water for 1 minute. Parboil rutabagas for 3 minutes.

Melt the butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, rutabaga or turnips, carrot, and thyme. Season with 3/4 teaspoon of salt and sprinkle with the flour. Cover and cook over low heat for 4 minutes, then stir in 1 1/2 cups water and the parsley. Simmer, covered, until the turnips are tender, about 15 minutes. Taste for salt, season with pepper, add the mustard and cream, and simmer for two minutes more. Stir in the bison.

Take the pot off the heat and transfer stew to the dish you’ll be using for the pot pie. Allow the stew to come to room temperature. If you have time, you can leave it on a cooling rack, or you can put it in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes. This waiting part is kind of annoying, so if you can make the stew ahead of time I would do that.

Preheat the oven to 425. Roll out your dough and cut it to fit your baking dish. Make sure it goes all the way to the edges. Brush one side of the dough with beaten egg and set the dough egg-side down on the stew. Flute the edges as you would for a deep-dish pie. You can make decorations out of the dough scraps and fasten them to the dough with egg glaze. Brush the top with beaten egg. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 and finish baking, about 35 minutes in all. 


Anne said...

I love this kind of thing - sounds so good! I used to cook a lot with ground beef when I was younger. I bet bison is way better.

Kate said...

looks delicious, is. i love the heart on top too. and the entry oozing with enthusiasm. makes me want to cook right now.... kate xo

Tatiana said...

Looks great, and I too have a package of bison meat that needs cookin'. Do you think this would work with parsnips too? Or would the flavors just be too wrong?