A few weeks ago I lost in a Top Chef pool as my pick had to pack his knives and go. Boo.Hiss. However, what stuck with me more than Angelo taking all of my winnings with him on the way out the door was when Carla got Christmas-excited (new term, I just made it up) about making a chicken pot pie. I laughed at her enthusiasm but then felt a little left out… I couldn’t remember the last time I had a pot pie! Most frozen or restaurant pot pies are full of chicken and high in fat/calories so it has been off my radar for the last 15 or so years… but not for long.
I scoured the internet for recipes. They all seemed pretty complicated and high in fat, aka not for me. I then found what I thought was the mecca: a lower fat, vegetarian and a simpler recipe than the other’s I had found. I rallied the troop (just one troop, Brent) and went to the store to pick up the semi-long ingredient list to get started on the recipe.
Tricky Vegetable Pot Pie (adapted from Vegetarian Times)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 1 cup thinly diced celery
- 1 cup thinly diced carrot
- 2/3 cup french-style frozen green beans
- 1 small yukon gold potato
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup skim (or soy) milk
- 2 cups vegetable stock or broth
- 2 T chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. dried sage
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
The original recipe calls for a cup of red pepper, but they were $4.50 at the grocery store, so I omitted them and bumped up the amounts of carrots and peas to replace the sweetness that the dish might lack due to the pepper being kicked out of the pot pie club. I will often omit an non-necessary ingredient if it is very expensive or not in season. I also added a small potato, diced. I added the potato because I recall potato being in a pot pie… am I wrong here?
1.Coat an 8-inch casserole dish with vegetable cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degree. Wash, chop and measure out all ingredients.
2.In a heavy saucepan, heat wine on medium-high heat for about a minute. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add celery, potato, carrot, green beans and peas. If mixture begins to dry out, add 1/4 cup more wine. Cook, stirring often, for 3 more minutes. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
3. The tricky part #1: In glass measuring cup, combine milk or soy milk and 2 cups vegetable stock. Slowly add to vegetable mixture while whisking constantly. Sauce will start to thicken after about 15-20 minutes (unless you are a cooking genius and it thickens in the original recipe time of 10 minutes). Add parsley, salt, thyme, sage, pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring constantly, until filling is thickened.
If you stir for 15 minutes after you add the spices and it’s just not thickening, just add a tablespoon of cornstarch. I had to do this. I think real chefs scoff at cornstarch. Maeby didn’t, as you can see. Remove from heat, transfer mixture to prepared casserole and set aside.
Basic Biscuit Crust time! (from the same VT recipe)
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached or whole wheat pastry flour* (I used 1 cup unbleached flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 T butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup buttermilk (soy milk)
- 2 T honey
1. In large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or fork, cut butter or margarine into flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
2.In measuring cup, combine buttermilk or soy milk and honey. Add liquid to flour mixture, stirring with a fork to form a stiff dough. Add more buttermilk if dough is too dry.
3. Tricky Part #2 Knead lightly in bowl, 3 to 5 minutes, until dough is no longer sticky. I think if i had used pastry flour this would have been easier. Mine hardly got un-sticky. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll out into shape to cover casserole dish.
4. Final Tricky Part: Lay biscuit topping lightly over filling. I could not make this look pretty to save my life. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes.
So, this tricky recipe turned out pretty good, the veggies were great and the cayenne gave this a heat that was awesome but no where near unbearable. The biscuit topping was a bit too heavy and I think next time I make this I might go with a store bought topping. The recipe also took a bit longer than I’d have liked to spend on a weeknight, but every once in awhile that’s fine by me.
While you wait for this masterpiece to be done, I suggest making a simple side salad to go with this for some lettuce crunch. Get ready to be full.