Pot pie isn’t just comfort food. It’s getting-cozy food. On a chilly autumn night, there’s nothing finer than throwing on your PJs, snuggling under a blanket on the couch, and cracking into that golden crust, preferably while watching something like “The Walking Dead.” Or “The Biggest Loser.”
But this Vegetable Pot Pie would also be right at home amongst the good china and linen napkins on your Thanksgiving table, especially if you’re looking for a filling vegetarian entree. Who wouldn’t want to dig into that pepper-speckled pastry to get to the rich filling, just brimming with onion, fennel, potatoes, asparagus, butternut squash, carrots, corn and peas?
Or maybe you’d rather have broccoli. Or mushrooms, celery, red or yellow peppers, edamame, green beans or extra-firm tofu. Feel free to substitute the vegetables in the recipe with your favorites. The more textures and colors, the better the pie.
Most importantly, taste the filling as you work, and season it liberally. Left alone, your vegetables would taste OK, but with the right amount of seasoning, they’ll come together and sing with flavor, which is exactly what you want in a Thanksgiving meal or getting-cozy supper.
Vegetable Pot Pie
Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Parties!”
Feel free to substitute the vegetables in this recipe for broccoli, mushrooms, celery, green beans, red or yellow bell peppers, turnips, tofu, etc. Generally, the more textures and colors, the better the pie.
Makes 4 large servings
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (can be replaced with butter in addition to amount below)
- 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
- Egg Wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) (Note: I used half that amount, and they were fine.)
- 2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (or Imagine No-Chicken Broth)
- 1 tablespoon Pernod, sherry or white wine (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Dash of hot sauce (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
- 1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash (or sweet potato)
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
- Optional: 1 to 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- For the Pastry: Using a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening and butter, and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board, and knead it quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic, and let it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- While the pastry chills, melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel, and sauté until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Slowly add the broth, Pernod, thyme, sage, red pepper flakes, saffron (if using), salt, and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer it for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and a dash of hot sauce, and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
- Fill a large pot 2/3 full with water, and bring the water to a boil. Add salt, and cook the potatoes for 10 minutes. Lift them out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot, and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce. Mix well. (If you’re adding the cheese, stir it into the filling now.)
- Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. If you are adding cheddar cheese, sprinkle it over the vegetables.
- Divide the dough into quarters, and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick.
- Brush the dough with egg wash, and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot. The gravy inside will thicken as the pie cools, so let it rest for about 20 minutes before serving.