To Salisbury Casserole or Pot Pie – That is the Question

When I was a child, my mom would allow us to choose TV dinners on the nights we were going to be home with a sitter. It was our special treat.  I often chose the Salisbury steak dinner with mashed potatoes, corn and if I was lucky some sort of dessert.  It makes me laugh how exciting this microwave dinner was to me; but it was part of the fun of having a sitter when mom and dad went out for the evening. So when a Salisbury Casserole recipe came across my Facebook feed, I felt compelled to check it out.  The recipe was full of canned soup ingredients and while convenient, I like to steer clear of MSG and other additives as much as I can.  I really liked the concept, so I decided to try and figure it out for myself.

So I took my favorite ingredients and created a delicious gravy for my new Salisbury creation.  It starts with caramelized onions, which you simply create by sauteing onions in a pan with a little oil until they are soft and start to brown around the edges.  Then add garlic and mushrooms and continue to saute.

My next step is boxed beef stock.  I stay away from condensed soups, but I do use my fair share of boxed stocks.  I also make my own, which I will share at a later date.  After adding the beef stock, add ketchup, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dried thyme to the pot.  I adore the flavor of Worcestershire sauce and use it quite a bit in my cooking.

Once all the ingredients are nicely combined, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.  Mix together some cornstarch and water and pour into the boiling gravy.  Stir until thickened and turn off heat.

The gravy is complete, now for the “meat and potatoes” of our meal.  Brown 1-2 pounds of ground beef or venison.  You will need a 9×13 glass baking dish to put everything together. A link to mine is below. Using a slotted spoon to keep any grease in the pan and not in your casserole, spoon the meat into the bottom of your baking dish.

Pyrex Basics 3 Quart Glass Oblong Baking Dish with Red Plastic Lid -13.2 INCH x 8.9inch x 2 inch

Pour Salisbury gravy over the meat.  You want it to be covered, but not swimming.  I used the whole batch at first, but found it to be a little too runny when serving. My suggestion is to start with half and then adjust according to your tastes.  Any extra gravy can be saved for another day.  It will be good for a week in the refrigerator.  The gravy should also freeze nicely for a later date.

While I was preparing the Salisbury gravy, I also had carrots and potatoes cooking away.  I parboiled the carrots, so they could finish cooking in the oven.  The potatoes, I mashed with a little bit of milk to become our casserole topping.

 

Add carrots and frozen peas over your meat, gravy mixture.  No need to cook the peas, they will cook completely in the oven.

Finally spread your mashed potatoes over the top of your casserole.  As an optional garnish add a sprinkling of dried thyme over the top. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes until bubbly.

We sit down to dinner in front of my delicious casserole and I ask my husband how he likes it.  He responds, “It’s good.  But it needs crust. Crust would make it better.”  That seemed like genius in the making, so I gave it a try.  The process is very similar.

You need to start with pie crust.  I’ve included my favorite Food Processor Crust from Betty Crocker.  You could also use your favorite prepared crust from the refrigerator section at the grocery store. Place the first crust on the bottom of your 9×13 glass baking dish.  Prepare the Salisbury gravy as before, but this time add the casserole ingredients into the pot.  First browned meat, then peas and carrots, and finally fold in mashed potatoes. Spread the combined mixture evenly over the crust.  Cut your second crust into strips and arrange in a lattice pattern on top of the mixture.

Bake at 425°F for 20-30 minutes.  Crust should be lightly brown and filling should be warm and bubbly.

Now you must answer the question, to Casserole or to Pot Pie? Both are tasty. Both can be made the day before and then baked before serving.  I recommend bringing up to room temperature before baking or add 10 extra minutes if made the day before. Enjoy!

 

Salisbury Steak Casserole/Pot Pie

We take the elements of the Salisbury Steak Dinner you always enjoyed and combine them into your choice of a casserole or pot pie.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: beef, casserole, dinner, main course, pot pie, venison
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Salisbury Gravy:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 oz canned mushrooms
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 qt beef stock
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup ground mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup water

Casserole Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef or venison
  • 1-2 cups peas frozen
  • 1-2 cups carrots chopped partially cooked
  • 4 cups mashed potatoes prepared

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp shortening
  • 4-5 tbsp cold water

Instructions

Salisbury Gravy:

  • Pour cooking oil into the bottom of a large pot on medium heat
  • Cut onion into large chunks and add to pan
  • Sauté onions until they are soft and begin to caramelize
  • Add garlic and mushrooms to the pan. Continue to sauté 1-2 minutes
  • Pour in quart of beef stock. Add ketchup, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dried thyme. Whisk to combine and increase heat.
  • Bring mixture to a boil.
  • Add cornstarch to water and stir to combine. Add to boiling mixture and stir until thickened.
  • Turn off heat and set to the side.

Salisbury Casserole:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Brown ground meat on stove top. Place in the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish.
  • Pour gravy over meat until it is covered. Approximately half to three quarters of the prepared gravy.
  • Add carrots and peas on top of the meat and gravy mixture.
  • Spread mashed potatoes over the top of the mixture.
  • Optional: sprinkle dried thyme over the mashed potatoes
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes

Food Processor Pie Crust:

  • Measure 4 tablespoons water into a measuring cup and set aside.
  • Place shortening, flour, and salt in food processor.
  • Cover and process using quick pulses until mixture is crumbly.
  • With food processor running, pour water in all at once through feed tube until dough leaves the side of the bowl. (It will not form a ball. Just combined enough to come away from the sides.
  • Remove from food processor and shape into two equal balls. Then shape into flattened rounds.
  • Place one round on lightly floured service, flatten with a rolling pin. Roll into 9X13 rectangle and transfer to baking dish.
  • Place second round on lightly floured service, flatten with a rolling pin and cut into strips for lattice top.

Salisbury Pot Pie:

  • Preheat oven to 425°F
  • Prepare gravy.
  • Brown ground meat. Add to gravy and stir to combine.
  • Add peas and carrots to mixture and stir to combine.
  • Fold in mashed potatoes. Set filling to the side.
  • Cover bottom of 9X13 glass baking dish with prepared pie crust.
  • Spread prepared filling evenly over pie crust.
  • Roll second pie crust out and cut into strips.
  • Place strips over top of mixture in a lattice pattern.
  •  Bake 20-30 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.
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