Get Flaky With Pot Pie
It’s OK to flake on dinner — under one condition. “Flake” must refer to the crispy, golden flakiness of a pillowy pot pie. Deemed a longstanding American classic, pot pies are hot, hot, hot: steaming with an irresistible aroma that awakens pangs of hunger from within. And the best home cooking always comes with a hefty helping of nostalgia.
It’s a given that I’ll always find comfort in pot pie, whether presented in its authentic form as a doughy casserole, or as a gourmet dish in ways that transcend the norm.
This week, the following OYK establishments helped break down the anatomy of pot pies, where clean flavors, crisp textures and a defining crust are a must.
Come on everybody, let’s get flaky!
JJ Bistro & French Pastry
Never in his wildest dreams did Laos native JJ Luangkhot think he would be calling the Islands home and, on top of that, riding the wave of success as award-winning pastry chef and owner of JJ Bistro & French Pastry.
The quaint eatery first opened for business in 1995 in Aiea, then four years later relocated to Kaimuki, where it resides today.
JJ Bistro & French Pastry capitalizes on artistically presented dishes that capture the marriage of Southeast Asian and European fare. Luangkhot credits his mentor, Parisian pastry chef Jean-Marc Burllier, who taught him the ins and outs of French cuisine. Soon, Luangkhot carved his own niche, crafting an assortment of entrees and desserts that leave a lasting impression on guests.
For instance, the chef takes the ordinary pot pie and plays it up big time. The result is Fishermen Pie ($14.95), a dish that explodes with French and Asian nuances.
“Fishermen Pie is presented Napoleon style, meaning that I’ve layered puff pastry and ingredients on top of each other. Unlike your traditional pot pie, this one is stacked,” Luangkhot says of the dish that is available all day.
Pillows of puff pastry dough are delicately baked (with real butter), and enhanced with a filling comprised of zucchini, eggplant, bamboo shoots, shrimp, scallops and tender pieces of salmon doused in green curry sauce so smooth, it is absorbed into every crevice of the pastry.
“Quality dough is key to a delicious pot pie,” he adds, noting that a fluffy and flaky exterior is a sign of a job well done. “Fishermen Pie is a No. 1 seller.”
JJ Bistro & French Pastry
3447 Waialae Ave.
For celebrity chef Chai Chaowasaree, owner of his namesake restaurant Chef Chai, in order to execute a stellar product, precision, dedication and creativity are essential attributes. He’s made his presence known, as he’s been able to stay on top of the game — always experimenting with new ideas and ingredients; taking the ordinary to extraordinary.
“It’s hard to compare our Deconstructed Scallop Pot Pie with a traditional (chicken) pot pie, because normal (chicken pot pies) are more like comfort food — stew-like, if you will. You often use ingredients left over from the night before, such as Thanksgiving turkey,” explains Chaowasaree. “We consider our pot pie to be gourmet, and we bring it to the next level.
“If you cooked our pot pie the traditional way, by the time the pastry pie crust turns brown, the scallops are already over-cooked. The solution is to cook everything separately and then deconstruct.”
Priced at $36, Chef Chai’s Deconstructed Scallop Pot Pie with Lobster Reduction is even heartier with the inclusion of baby carrots, fingerling potatoes, baby spinach, pearl onions and Hamakua mushrooms drizzled with decadent white truffle oil and topped with crispy puff pastry.
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Since its opening in March 2009, Fendu Boulangerie in Manoa Marketplace has been a one-stop shop for freshly baked breads, breakfast pastries, desserts and more. Yet, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the bake shop’s offerings go. Need a real meal? Feast away on one of Fendu’s many pizzas and sandwiches, not to mention its sensational Island Style Chicken Pot Pie ($12.25), which owner and chef Niel Koep describes as a classic chicken pot pie with fresh vegetables and house-made chicken stock. Slice into the pie — bound with cream sauce, topped with pot pie dough and baked just right — and Okinawan sweet potato, green papaya, bok choy and more present local flair with every bite.
“The ingredients mix very well together,” says Koep, also noting that he makes a conscious effort to support local farms and purveyors. “Chicken pot pie is comfort food. It’s 100 percent all-natural — no hydrogenated shortenings. We use quality white and dark meat, and real butter.”
2752 Woodlawn Drive