For this year's 2nd edition of Hot Stove Cooking with the Cardinals, we have the hands-down best recipe from this year's crop: Mike Shannon's Pheasant Pie.
I can't imagine I have to tell anyone reading this St. Louis Cardinals Sports Blog who Mike Shannon is. A St. Louis native, 2x World Series Champion, longtime broadcaster and Cardinals Hall of Famer... it's hard to get much more "St. Louis" than Mike Shannon.
But on top of all of that, Shannon was the longtime proprietor of Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood downtown, and continues to be associated with other restaurant locations and retail food products. So I felt like, if you're the name behind a small restaurant empire, any recipe you put out has to be pretty good, right?
1 medium onion
2 leafstalks celery
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 Tbs butter
1 medium onion, diced
Few ribs celery, diced
1⁄2 stick butter
3 heaping Tbs flour
Few drops yellow food coloring
1 pie crust (Use packaged, frozen, or your own recipe)
Boil pheasant until tender with onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Remove pheasant; strip meat from bones and cut in large pieces. Strain and reserve 3 cups broth.
Saute diced onion, celery, and mushrooms in 1 Tbs butter until tender (not brown). Set aside.
Melt 1⁄2 strick butter in saucepan; gradually add flour. Stir until blended (do not brown).
Bring reserved broth to boil; add hot flour mixture. Stir well until thick and smooth.
Remove from heat; add Worcestershire sauce, food coloring, sautéed onion, celery, mushrooms. Place pheasant in pan or casserole dish. Pour broth and flour mixture over pheasant. Cover with rich pie crust. Bake at 450º until pie crust is brown and done. Serves 4.
Now, I generally make every effort to prepare the recipe exactly as directed. In this case, however, I wasn't able to find a pheasant at a local grocer, and what am I gonna do, shoot one? With these delicate hands?
Instead, I substituted two Cornish hens. I'm sure pheasant would give you a more gamey taste, not to mention added crunch from the shot, but any poultry would work here.
One additional benefit of this recipe is that boiling the poultry will yield more than the three cups of stock you need for the pie, so you'll have some good quality stock leftover when you're done.
I followed Mrs. Shannon's exact measurements for the butter, flour and stock, and the result was a perfectly thickened sauce. Most pot pie recipes would have you pour the mixture into a pie crust. The method here - using a casserole dish and then putting pie crust over the top - still gives you some nice flaky crust bites and eliminates any potential problems with the bottom crust. (But you could certainly use a full crust if you wanted.)
I used a frozen crust, which broke apart while frozen and therefore kept my final product from looking as good as it could, but the results were delicious.
As longtime VEB reader Dan Chibnall commented, "the Moon Man knows his pot pie."