Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vegetable Pot Pie

As the weather is slowly warming up I realized that there are a few hearty meals I want to make before it gets too hot. One of the meals is vegetable pot pie. Before I was a vegetarian, my old boyfriend got me hooked on chicken pot pie. His mom had a simple delicious recipe that I couldn't resist. I think why I liked it so much was because I thought I would hate it. I have a thing against casseroles as well as white sauces (I know I am a freak), but this pie changed my mind. I finally finagled my way into getting her recipe and decided to change a few things since I would no longer be adding chicken to it.

I took a look at Ina Garten's vegetable pot recipe for another reference point. Ina's recipe is loaded with butter and other specialty ingredients, click here for her version (it got five stars). Below is my recipe, but feel free to change it up with what you have around as well as what is in season. You can also add chicken in substitute for some vegetables. Simply take two or three chicken breasts and boil them for about half hour, let cool and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Add the cooked chicken at the same time as the vegetables to the sauce. I used puff pastry for the top, but you can use pie dough or biscuit batter. Really, the possibilities are endless.

The pie might seem a bit over whelming because there is a lot of prep work, but trust me it is worth it.

Note: I placed my raw vegetables in the pie pan I was planning to use so I could see whether I need to add more or less.

Here are the ingredients:
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
-3 tablespoons flour
-3 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
-2 cups of potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces (peeled if desired)
-1 cup asparagus, chopped into bite-sized pieces
-1 leek, chopped thinly (click here to see how to chop and clean a leek)
-1 shallot, chopped thinly
-1 cup green beans, chopped into bite-sized pieces (frozen or fresh)
-1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
-1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
-3/4 cup vegetable broth (I used Better than Bouillon)
-3/4 cup half and half
-1 egg
-1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
-Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

To begin, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill large stock pot with water and bring to boil. Meanwhile, chop all vegetables.
Once water is boiling add potatoes and carrots. Boil until almost tender. Add asparagus, green beans, peas, and corn to the pot. Cook until everything is tender. Drain vegetables and set aside.
While your vegetables are boiling, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium low heat in a high sided sauce pan. Add chopped leek and shallot. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid and let the vegetables sweat. Check frequently and stir so they won't burn.
Once translucent, add 1 tablespoon of butter. Let melt and then add flour and a pinch of cayenne. You are creating a roux. Add vegetable stock and half and half. Stir until smooth and bring to a boil to thicken sauce. You can have your sauce as thick or thin as you like. Make sure to taste the roux to see if you want more seasoning.
Add boiled vegetables to the roux and mix until well coated. Pour mixture into pie pan.
Drap thawed puff pastry over filling. Use scissors to trim pastry to fit over the filling. Cut a few slits in pastry so steam can be released when baking.
Mix egg and a couple tablespoons of water to create an egg wash. Brush wash onto pastry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place pie pan onto a foil lined baking sheet (so if the pie bubbles over, you won't have to clean your oven).

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. I baked mine a little too long, but it still tasted good. Let the pot pie sit for 20 or 30 minutes so the filling can thicken. The slice and serve.
This pie makes fantastic left overs (coming from someone who hates leftovers). Enjoy!

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