When my friend Shosh sent me a link to a neat little tentacle pot pie (this one) with a note that said “I’d love to see you convert this into a Cthulhu pot pie”, I had to do it. No maybes. Absolutely. Had. To.
Cthulhu Mythos is creepy and thus perfect for Halloween. A word of caution though, unless you’re reading Hello Cthulhu comics or playing a game of Munchkin Cthulhu, it’s not cute-scary. It’s intended to be a horrific mind bending scary. Grab one of Lovecraft’s books or any other book from the shared fictional universe, sit down, read it and then be prepared to not want to sleep that night.
For the normals out there, here’s your geek lesson: Cthulhu is one of the central Great Old Ones of the Lovecraft Mythos. H.P. Lovecraft, perhaps you may have heard of him? One of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, Stephen King called Lovecraft “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.” Yeah, that guy.
If you’re a video gamer and have not played Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, it’s worth it – even if it’s an older game. Or go to any local game shop, pick up a copy of the board game Arkham Horror, grab some friends and prepare for some horrific fun.
See a trend here? Cthulhu is both terrifying and awesome.
This Great Old One has been recreated in many forms, and now it’s my turn!
Of course, in order to properly give homage to a cosmic entity, I needed a model to base it on. While the truly horrific variety would have been grand, it’s a bit hard to work with a pot pie and make that sort of thing turn out well.
However, I just so happen to have a collection of plush Cthulhu and ‘friends’ (Cthulhi? Plural of Cthulhu, anyone?). I decided to base my tribute on the original Toy Vault Cthulhu: terribly cute, a little bit disturbing and definitely my favorite.
As a side note, I played Call of Cthulhu (the table top game) in college. I’d say I have fond memories but they’re more along the lines of frightened out of my mind. The person running the game set the plot in the house we were renting and had the scary all emanate from the creepy (in-real-life) cellar under the porch. He was a really good storyteller.
My bedroom was in the basement of that house, right next that cellar. I slept in the living room for a couple nights.
Now back to the important part, Cthulhu as food! I decided on a a beef stew with lots fresh herbs and vegetables for the pot pie filling, all under a glorious golden tentacled crust made from a garlic-cheddar biscuit dough.
I did try a more traditional pot pie crust first but didn’t like how it turned out, not enough detail and way too flat. When rolled thin, the biscuit dough worked great. Puff pastry would also probably work very well, but I didn’t have any on hand.
Midway through, I decided that some Chibithulhu biscuits were also necessary and made a batch of those as a side dish (from Munchkin Cthulhu, all hail Steve Jackson Games).
There may also have been a few biscuits turned into Shoggoths and at least one Nyarlathotep too…
The other Great Old Ones would likely approve.
You could say “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”…
But see, Cthulhu isn’t in his house dreaming anymore… he’s in my belly.
And he was delicious.
Cthulhu Pot Pies
Things you’ll need:
- Pot Pie Filling, see below or use your favorite recipe
- 1 batch of Biscuit Dough, see below or use your favorite recipe
- Cherry tomatoes, sliced for the eyes
- Cheddar cheese for accents
- 1 Egg, beaten – this will be your “glue”
- 2 oven safe bowls or large ramekins, 4-6oz capacity
- Rolling Pin
- Sharp paring knife or pizza cutter
- Cookie sheet
- Flour for dusting
- Cooking spray
- Aluminum foil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450°F.
Step 2: Dust your work surface well with flour, biscuit dough can be sticky. Roll out your dough to about 1/4”, not too thin or it will start to rip. Place your bowl or ramekin face down on the dough and cut out a circle. If you’re paranoid (and you should be!), cut about 1/4” away from the outside edge to have some working room.
Step 3: Now that you have the face, make your tentacles! Cut out a square, about 1” wider than your bowl. Then shape the top so that it’s the same width as the bowl, keeping the bottom wider. Aka, form a trapezoid.
Step 4: Using your knife or pizza cutter, cut the 8 tentacles, about 3/4 of the way up the dough from the bottom. Separate a little bit and then adjust the length of each one. Some should be shorter than others. Attach tentacle mouth to face using a little bit of the beaten egg on the bottom and pressing it down a bit.
Step 5: Then make the eye ridge by rolling out a strip of dough and flattening it in the shape of a very wide “W” and again using the egg, attach it to the top part of the face and lightly press down to seal.
Step 7: Fill your bowl with hot pot pie filling/stew most of the way full – leaving about 1/2″ of room at the top! Place it on the cookie sheet. Take a 12” strip of aluminum foil and roll it up loosely into a tube. Wrap it around the bottom half of the bowl and then spray it with cooking spray to prevent sticking – this will brace up the tentacles.
Step 8: Use your knife or a small spatula to help lift the face off the floured surface and lay over the top of the bowl. It should cover the edges, just barely. Position tentacles over aluminum foil so they’re not touching. Place your eyes in their proper spots and sprinkle cheese on the eye ridge. If you don’t like tomato, you can use dough or olives for the eyes, however proper Cthulhu eyes are red. Brush beaten egg on the top to give it a really good golden shine.
Step 9: Bake! On the center rack of the oven for 8-10 minutes until a medium golden brown. Remove from oven and use a spatula to lift it off the cookie sheet. Then carefully remove foil roll (there might be a little breakage if you’re not careful) and let it cool a few minutes. Eat!
Yield: 2 Cthulhu Pot Pies
Note: Yes, you are allowed to giggle maniacally while eating and also while making this dish. If someone stares at you, just stare right back.
Herbed Beef Stew/Pot Pie Filling
- 1 lb sirloin steak or stew meat, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 2 tsp canola oil
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 large onion (~1 1/2 cups), diced
- 4 large stalks of celery (~1 1/2 cups), chopped
- 8 oz (~2 cups) carrots, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
- 8 oz (~2 cups) mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes (optional, swap half the potatoes for turnips!)
- 3 cups beef broth, divided
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ½ tsp each parsley, rosemary, savory & thyme
Step 1: Heat canola oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add your steak; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
Step 2: Add all of the vegetables to the pot and stir together with beef. Add one cup of beef broth, cover the pot with the lid and leave it cooking (steaming, really) while you make the gravy in the next step.
Step 3: Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Slowly add flour. Cook 1 minute, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add remaining 2 cups beef broth, stirring constantly. Add in the salt, pepper and herbs to the gravy. Cook another minute or until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly.
Step 4: Add the gravy and stir well.
Step 5: Turn up the heat and bring the stew to a boil. Then reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, or until you’re ready to spoon into bowls for Cthulhu.
Yield: 8 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each (leftovers are tasty!)
Simple Garlic Cheddar Biscuits
- 3 cups Biscuit Mix
- 2/3 cup cheddar cheese
- 2-3 tsp garlic powder
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 2 1/2″ Biscuit Cutter
Step 1: Preheat oven to 450°F.
Step 2: Mix dry biscuit mix with cheddar cheese and garlic powder, making sure everything is well combined.
Step 3: Add milk and stir just until all ingredients are incorporated.
Step 5: Use a rolling pin to roll out your dough to 1/2″ thick.
Step 6: Use a 2 1/2 – 3″ biscuit cutter to cut out standard biscuit shapes or have some fun making strange shapes with them instead. Shoggoths make great biscuits for dipping in Cthulhu pot pies. For a golden, shiny top when baking, brush a little beaten egg on each one.
Step 7: Bake! On the center rack of the oven for 8-10 minutes until tops are a medium golden brown. Remove from oven, eat!
Yield: 12 Biscuits
Oh, and the tentacles?
Yep, they make great little breadsticks for dipping in the pot pie when all is said and done.
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