Knives Out, directed by Rian Johnson, is out this Thanksgiving weekend and promises to be a rollicking and hilarious murder mystery. Inspired by the likes of Clue, Gosford Park, and Agatha Christie mysteries, it stars, well, everyone – a brilliant ensemble cast led by Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc. Although it has a distinctly modern twist, it leans on many of the usual murder mystery tropes, with an eccentric family gathered to a remote mansion by its patriarch. He dies right away of course, and everyone’s a suspect.
When brainstorming recipes, I thought about the large, wealthy New England family which led me to all the WASPy classics. WASP food has a reputation for being bland and boring, but done well it can be comforting and delicious, and just the thing to calm familial dysfunction. Think pot pie, French onion soup, and especially as the movie is filmed in Boston, seafoods like lobster rolls, clam chowder, and crab cakes. I ended up with a mishmash of these classic dishes, with twin versions of pot pies in darling ramekins, topped by puff pastry.
Although there are two distinct versions, this is a single recipe as single weird and winding as the film.
Mystery Pot Pies (French Onion Pot Pie and Crab Chowder Pot Pie)
For the roux
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
In a small saucepan over medium low heat, stir together butter and flour. Stir until it is a light golden color, remove from heat, and reserve.
For the French Onion Pot Pie
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3 sprigs thyme (leaves removed and roughly chopped)
- Few cracks fresh black pepper
- 1 teaspoon marmite (optional but recommended, adds umami flavor)
- salt to taste (but I didn’t need to add any as the marmite is very salty)
In a pan on medium low, heat olive oil and cook onion, stirring often, until very golden brown (I will not lie to you like so many recipes, this takes a long time so be patient). Stir in thyme, black pepper, and marmite.
For the Crab Chowder Pot Pie
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 1 medium small potato, diced
- 8 ounces crab meat, cooked
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- zest of 1 lemon
In a separate pan, heat olive oil, and sauce shallot until translucent. Stir in celery, carrot, potato, crab meat, Old Bay and lemon zest.
To finish both
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons sherry
- Handful croutons
- 1/4 cup gruyere
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg white, beaten with a tablespoon of water
Heat oven to 375. Add 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth and half of the roux to each pan, and simmer each until each mixture is very thick. Divide the onion mixture between two ramekins, and the crab mixture between two more. To the onion ramekins, top with croutons and a sprinkle of gruyere. Roll out the puff pastry and cut circles the size of the ramekins. Top each, brush with egg white, cut a couple vents for each, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Fresh out of the oven they look almost the same – but I’m sure a good detective can figure out which is which! Let us know how your Mystery Pot Pies turned out, and share recipes from your own Witchy Kitchen with us on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!