Cajun Seafood Pot Pie

Time to celebrate Spring, Mardi Gras, and perhaps a Birthday!

I celebrate the seasons along with the meteorologists. Spring begins on March 1 in my book, and no one usually argues the point. Of course, in Vermont, March, and even April for that matter, often looks more like winter than spring, but some years we get lucky and it comes early. This is not one of those years, but I can dream.

Triple celebration

Once in a big blue moon, Mardi Gras lands right on my birthday. So, this year, I’ll be celebrating triple time, even though the middle of the week in the middle of the pandemic means that celebration will definitely fall on the milder rather than wilder side.

So, Mardi Gras, my birthday, and the first day of spring, all reasons to cook up something special in the kitchen, and I’m looking toward the south. 

Move over chicken pot pie

One of my favorite dishes is a pot pie complete with flakey crust, and if it’s loaded with seafood rather than scraps from another meal, even better. This is a splurge dish, and right about now, we all need and extra treat or two!

Flavor, flair, and fun

When I lived in the south, we ventured into New Orleans and I fell in love with Cajun and Creole dishes served up (within our limited budget) filled with flavor, flair, and fun. A crawfish boil sticks in my mind, as does a simple crawfish pie we ate at a tiny diner. I still love those spices, and adding them to an old-fashioned Yankee pot pie makes me happy on all counts. I learned to love heat in my food back then, and never looked back.

No crawfish, lobster will do

Now, if I were still in the south, I’d make this with not only the Gulf shrimp, but crawfish as well. I can get crawfish meat in the freezer at my fish market, but not the whole creature. If you have access to these tiny lobster wannabes, use the meat in the pie and the shells for the stock. However, if you are a New Englander, Maine lobster fills in nicely. Alternately, you can use frozen lobster tails as well.

Use the pastry you love

Use your favorite pastry, or even puff pastry. I’m not a fan of biscuit-topped pot pies, but if that is your thing, go for it!

Splurge or not, I needed to make this a little more heart healthy for my husband, so I experimented with some vegan butters for the pastry. I had one dismal failure, but also a delightful success with Miyokos cultured vegan butter. The pastry turned out beautifully flaky and flavorful. My sister commented that it was one of the best she’s had! Yes, there’s white flour in the crust, so I definitely won’t call this health food. But I used only a top crust (sigh) and kept the saturated fat to a minimum and didn’t sacrifice flavor. Please, make this with a bottom crust too if you are not watching your saturated fat.

Put on some lively Zydeco, invite your friends over, toss a few beads, and enjoy some of the flavor of Mardi Gras.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Cajun Seafood Pot Pie

For each deep-dish crust:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ cup vegan butter (Miyokos), chilled
  • 2 tbsp. vodka
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. iced water

The stock:

  • Shells of one lobster 
  • Shells of one pound shrimp
  • Muscle trimmings from ½ lb. sea scallops
  • 1 large onion
  • Other vegetable scraps from your prep
  • 1 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 10 cups filtered water

Pie:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning, below
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart seafood stock, above
  • 1 lb. wild shrimp
  • ½ lb. dry sea scallops, quartered
  • Meat of 1 ½ lb. Main or other local lobster, or 1 lb. thawed frozen crawfish meat
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • Hot sauce to taste, optional but recommended
  • ¼ cup finely minced parsley

Make the stock: First steam the lobster for 5 to 6 minutes, just until it starts to turn red. It should not be totally cooked, you want it that way. Remove the meat from the lobster and place the shells in a stock pot with a drizzle of olive oil. Peel and devein the shrimp and place those shells into the pot as well. Trim the scallops of their muscles and add the muscles to the pot. Season and place the seafood in the refrigerator. To the stock pot, add the onion, seasoning, and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes, then add the water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer for a half hour. Set aside and strain when you need to use it.

While the stock is simmering, make the crust: Place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the processor. Pulse until it is broken up with just a few larger chunks. This happens quickly. Slowly drizzle in the vodka and water while pulsing. The dough will start to clump, but still be shaggy. Carefully reach in (watch out for the blade!) and pick up a bit of the dough and squeeze. If it holds together, you have enough water. If not, add another teaspoon or so and pulse a couple more times.

Turn out to a sheet of plastic wrap and pull the sides together to form a rough disc. Refrigerate for a half hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Make the filling: Add the olive oil, onion, celery, pepper, and Cajun seasoning to a large skillet (12-inch) over medium high heat and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then deglaze with the sherry, scraping up any glaze from the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle with the flour, stir it in well and cook for at least a minute, then add the stock and continue stirring until thick. 

Add the shrimp, scallops, and lobster and mix well. You want the seafood to just start to warm. Add the peas, hot sauce, and parsley, mix again, and taste for seasoning.

Two crust pie: Let cool a few minutes and place in pie plate filled with bottom crust. Add the top crust, crimp the edges.

One crust pie: Place in a greased pie plate and let cool a bit. Roll out the dough and top the pie.

For both: Make an egg wash with one egg thinned with a teaspoon of water and brush the top, then cut little slits to let the steam escape. I used my large Pyrex pie dish.

Place on a baking sheet to catch any boil over, and bake for about an hour to an hour ten minutes. Check at 45 minutes and turn the pie around so it will brown evenly. Let cool 20 minutes and serve.

Cajun Seasoning

Mix together:

  • 1 tablespoon each paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano
  • 1 teaspoon each thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne
  • Pinch each of crushed red pepper flakes and cumin

Other dishes to enjoy on Mardi Gras:

Mushroom and Vegetable Jambalaya

A lighter take on a classic dish, but packed with flavor and color.

Yankee Gumbo

Start with a dark roux you make in the oven, then load it with all kinds of flavor!

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63 Comments Add yours

  1. TaMara says:

    I’m allergic to shrimp (and I’m assuming crawfish) and never, ever thought to substitute lobster, great idea! Looks delicious.

    1. You could just double up on any of the other components. Lobster, scallops, maybe crab?

  2. What fun, Fat Tuesday, Spring and your birthday! Your cajun seafood pot pie is a perfect dish to celebrate! Laissez le bon temps rouler!
    Jenna

    1. Merci! It all comes together this year!

  3. Sounds great and looks even better

    1. Thanks Charlie! I’ll save you some next time!

  4. The Peach says:

    Oh wow. That looks incredible!

    1. Thank you so much! It is my new favorite!

  5. Nancy says:

    Let The Good Times Roll! Fat Tuesday, a Fabulous Birthday and the First day of Spring! And then this Pot Pie… It just doesn’t get any better.
    💜💛💚

    1. I kown Nancy! Can you imagine!

  6. Your curst is beautiful!

    1. Thank you! I was pretty pleased with it using the vegan butter!

  7. Ally Bean says:

    This potpie looks like a feast. Your crust recipe intrigues me with vodka and sugar in it. I’ve never seen that before. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

    1. Merci! I tried adding vodka a few years ago to the pastry because it hinders the development of gluten and helps the pastry to be more tender. It seems to help, but you can’t add too much or the dough gets too soft. I added the sugar on a lark and it was not enough to register sweet, just a little more interest in the flavor! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  8. This brings back a very tasty trip to the South. Definitely a celebratory dish!
    Happy Birthday! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ronit! I plan to make it a special day, weather permitting!

      1. Hope it will! 🙂

  9. BERNADETTE says:

    Dorothy, this looks absolutely amazing.

    1. Why thank you! It was pretty delicious!

  10. Amanda says:

    Hearty food for a rainy day. I also like the sound of the Jambalaya and Gumbo. They take a bit of work and time but would be a great dish to serve to a crowd of visitors.

    1. Great food for a snowy day too Amanda, at least where I am! Perfect dishes for a gathering, and I’d probably hand my friends a knife and have them help me chop!

  11. You are so inspiring Dorothy! Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought to put seafood in pot pie. We love New Orleans too and want to go back some day. Thank you!

    1. Also, have a wonderful birthday Tuesday!

      1. Thank you Diane! I am going out to lunch and other than that, I’ll just see where the day takes me.

    2. What I haven’t done is go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, that is on my bucket list! But even without the celebration, it’s pretty amazing.

  12. Ha ha I love how you suggest we can “make do with lobster” – Marie Antoinette and letting the people eat cake wasn’t a patch on you, tee hee 🙂 . I just love lobster and it’s not readily available (live) where I live. The last time I enjoyed super lobster was in Boston back in 2014, so I think I’m due for some no? Oh, and I never knew about the addition of Vodka to making pastry dough – how did you find out?

    1. The vodka trick I learned from my girlfriend who read it in a magazine. Since then, I’ve seen it lots of places. It seems to work really well as long as you don’t put in too much vodka, then the dough gets a little too soft and doesn’t hold its shape. But it always makes a nice flakey crust.

  13. CarolCooks2 says:

    Who would thought to add vodka to pastry dough ..not me! I love a seafood pot pie and yours looks delicious, Dorothy 🙂

    1. That you Carol! The vodka technique has been circulating around here for a while, the theory is that the vodka does not encourage gluten formation. It does make a tender crust. My mom did much the same thing with lemon juice.

      1. CarolCooks2 says:

        Interesting I will have to try it …

  14. Gail says:

    I don’t know what I like more…..that golden flakey crust or the savory seasoned seafood. 🤔😍

    1. Then you will just have to eat it all! Enjoy the day!📿📿

      1. Gail says:

        Let me grab a napkin. 😜

  15. NativeNM says:

    Wow that looks incredibly delicious! You are doing well learning what works to make your meals healthier but still taste good.

  16. Chef Mimi says:

    Fabulous! It would be good with some andouille as well. Love the spices.

    1. Thank you Mimi! The spices are so warming and full of vitality!

  17. Leah says:

    I love the idea of Mardi Gras although I will never go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. (A semester break one year was more than I could handle!) I also love to celebrate Mardi Gras even by just getting King Cake but I cannot find one this year in the Bay Area….Happy Spring, Let the Good Times Roll and have the happiest birthday! Your cajun seafood pot pie looks so scrumptious!

  18. Americaoncoffee says:

    Awesome and always a great Spring feeling! 🎉🎈💞🍮🍮

  19. What a super delicious way to celebrate! I love Cajun and Creole dishes too! What a wonderful combination of flavors! And probably I even did not taste the originals 😅
    Happy Mardi Gras! Happy Birthday! Wish you health and happiness! And happy first day of spring 🌸

    1. Thank you so much Ribana! The flavors always make me happy.
      It looks like tomorrow is going to be snowy, but not terribly frigid outside, so I’ll take it!

  20. Christy B says:

    I’ve had chicken pot pie and turkey pot pie, but never a seafood one! Your variety of recipes is impressive, Dorothy x

    1. Thank you Christy! I grew up on the chicken and turkey; this is a nice change!

  21. Sowmya says:

    Wonderful potpie to celebrate Dorothy. I am amazed at your creative skills in the kitchen.

    1. Thank you Sowmya! That is a very sweet thing to say, especially from one so accomplished in the kitchen herself!

      1. Sowmya says:

        Oh I am so grateful for your lovely comment Dorothy. Enjoy your day

  22. terrie gura says:

    Happy Birthday, my friend! How wonderful that it lined up that way for you this year. This Cajun pie looks positively mouthwatering, and I can only imagine how delicious it really is. I love your vodka trick on the pastry dough. My efforts with pastry are so hit-and-miss; I wish I could just spend a day in your kitchen, as I would learn so much!

    Have the best day ever!!! 🙂

    1. Thank you my friend! I’ve had a great day so far, flowers and cards and lunch with hubby at a favorite restaurant. Don’t know if I have room for dinner!
      Pastry always knows if you are afraid of it! I just tell it that if IT messes up, I can always patch it, and I’m a pretty good quilter!

  23. angelamara says:

    Happy Birthday Dorothy! I love anything with crust, and that pot pie sounds so good!! Thanks for sharing the recipe :).

    1. Thank you Angela! It has been a wonderful day!

  24. Sherry M says:

    i love seafood and this pie looks so delicious but sadly hubby doesn’t eat it… therefore i never cook seafood dishes but have to go out to eat ’em. ah well c’est la vie.

    1. Quel dommage! Enjoy your dinners out! 🐠🐟🍤

  25. sunisanthosh says:

    Definitely your ideas are so fabulous. Belated Happy Birthday wishes, Dorothy.

    1. Thank you for the kind words and birthday wishes!

  26. Carolyn Page says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Dorothy! What a delightful birthday (or any day) dish.
    Lots to love here. I feel as though I’ve actually enjoyed this dish sensation just by reading about it. Yes, it is that good…
    xoxoxo

    1. Thank you my dear! You are so sweet! It was a great birthday! Actually, it’s still going on!

      1. Carolyn Page says:

        As it should… 🙂
        Enjoy every moment. As I know you will.

  27. This sounds very nice, Dorothy. I am going to give this a try.

    1. Thank you Robbie! It was delicious and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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