I was so excited to be invited to a cool little supper club started by a friend here in Columbus. The ingeniously-themed meet up was entitled Showcase of the Crusted Arts. Meaning bring something with a crust on it somewhere. The smart and gracious hosts cooked up a beautiful whole striped bass in a salt crust. Other clever folks brought goat cheese pizza, clementine pie, Hot Pockets, pork pie, spanakopita, all sorts of deliciousness.
I wanted to make something that would travel fairly well and have something substantial and savory, if perhaps a bit non-traditional, as a crust. Enter a pot pie of sorts with crab and shrimp, topped with Georgia-inspired pimento cheese biscuits. Kosher it ain’t, but it was good.
Greensboro Pie, serves plenty folks
For the Pie:
1 leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
3/4 c white wine
3/4 c vermouth
1 1/2 c homemade fish stock or chicken stock
3/4 c heavy cream (Yup, Snowville)
3 sprigs thyme
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 c milk (I used 2%, Snowville, of course)
Nutmeg, freshly grated
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined, sauteed in a bit of butter until almost done
1 pound of crab, picked and fairly dry (Both shrimp and crab were from The Fish Guys at North Market)
Handful of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add the leeks. Saute for 5 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally so as not to color them. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the wine and vermouth. Over medium low heat, reduce liquid to half. Add in stock. Reduce to half. Add in cream and thyme, reducing until sauce is as thick as heavy cream.
While this sauce is reducing, in another pot, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour. Heat, stirring frequently, until the flour and butter combine and simmer a bit. Do not brown. Add in milk, whisking to combine. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and a whisper of freshly grated nutmeg. Remove from heat.
When wine, leek and cream sauce is the desired thickness, strain out solids and add liquid to pot with the bechamel. Add in the crab and shrimp. Keep warm over low heat.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2 cups cheddar cheese, divided (I used a Canadian White Cheddar from Curds and Whey at North Market)
2 1/4 c self rising flour
1 t salt
1/2 c very cold butter (Snowville makes awesome biscuits)
1 c buttermilk (this was from the butter making process)
1 4oz jar of pimentos, including liquid
1 T melted butter
In a large bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 cups of the cheddar, salt and flour. Cut butter in small pieces and add to flour. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas. Chill for 10 minutes. Combine buttermilk and pimentos, add to flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle, about 9 x 5 inches. Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour. Fold dough over onto itself in 3 sections, starting with 1 short end. Fold dough rectangle as if folding a letter-size piece of paper. Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle, about 9 x 5 inches. Press or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface, cut into varying sizes to fit to cover the top of the casserole.
Add parsley to hot shrimp and crab mixture. Taste for seasoning, and pour into a two and a half quart casserole dish. Carefully lay biscuits on top. Brush with a tablespoon of melted butter and sprinkle with remaining half cup of cheese.
Place casserole on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.