Veggie Pot Pie

Today the temperature dropped 25 degrees in less than 12 hours.

I woke up this morning in the midst of a tornado warning with rain smacking into the glass window panes behind my head and the apartment building doors slamming into the building at the whim of the winds that gusted for hours. When my alarm went off, I wanted nothing more than to stay curled up in my bed under 4 layers of blankets and listen to the sound of the rain.

But I had to go to work. Work wasn’t so great today and then I came home to some bad news. It was the kind of day that made me wish even more that I had stayed in bed.

I went back out in the cold and windy night to pick up groceries. Because the only thing that could fix a day like today is homemade comfort food, packed with hearty vegetables and peppered with the excitement of trying something new.

This evening I made my first pot pie. And a vegetarian one at that!

Have you seen the movie Waitress? It is a cute little story about a waitress at a small-town diner who bakes all of her emotions into pies. Every time she needs to get something off her chest, she bakes a pie and its ingredients reflect her mood. Here is the trailer:

Tonight I’m calling this “I-never-should-have-gotten-out-of-bed-and-now-all-I-have-to-keep-me-warm-is-a-big-plate-of-vegetables-in-a-flaky-crust” pie.

The experiment went well and the pie did indeed warm me to my core. Although as soon as I put food on the table, I was quickly reminded that I also have both a hungry boyfriend and a curious cat to keep me warm. 🙂

I and my non-feline companion enjoyed big plates of this hearty pie.

We didn’t even miss the chicken because it was overflowing with so many tasty vegetables right from the start.

I adapted a recipe from allrecipes to get to the one I have copied below. I highly recommend that you make this for someone you love (or all for yourself) sometime soon. I think I overestimated my vegetable measurements because when I cooked this recipe it filled a 2-quart round baking dish plus a small Pyrex dish. Thank goodness I had extra pie crust – we got an extra half of a pie rather unexpectedly!

Veggie Pot Pie


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 lb yellow squash, cut into small chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 4-6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped into 1/2 inch pieces (I used canned organic cut green beans this time but use fresh if you can get them)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (at least)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 recipe pastry for double-crust pie

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Cook onions, squash, and garlic in oil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in carrots, potatoes, and celery. Stir in broccoli, green beans, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are barely tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, soy sauce, and 1/4 cup warm water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Stir into vegetables, and cook until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  4. Roll out 1/2 of the dough to line an 11×7 inch baking dish. Pour the filling into the pastry lined dish. Roll out remaining dough, arrange over the filling, and seal and flute the edges.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is brown.

Have a terrific end of the week. Just two days left until the last outdoor SOTJ market for 2010 – it really is getting cold! Guess you know where I will be this Saturday morning, possibly bundled up and probably beaming.

Stay warm!

 

Veggie Redux: Bangers and Mash

Since eliminating meat from my diet, I have expanded my culinary horizons and seized the opportunity to try new ingredients and preparations. I have said before that vegetarianism has opened more doors for me than it has closed. However, I did not stop eating meat because I didn’t like meat. I really enjoyed meat on occasion, and some dishes have been hard to replace. For that reason, I have tried to recreate some of my favorite meat dishes using meatless ingredients. There have been successes and failures, but the thrill of the adventure is worth the bumpy ride.

Last night I attempted a recreation of bangers and mash, the traditional English dish made of sausage and mashed potatoes. This one was a success. I do not know if meat-eaters would be fooled, but for this pair of vegetarians, my rendition definitely satisfied the craving. And that is what it is all about. The vegan sausages with their pepperiness and bits of sundried tomato offered a hearty complement to the creamy mashed Yukon golds. Paired with a side of roasted brussels sprouts, this meal felt more winter than fall. However with the chilly rainy weather we have had for the last week, it really hit the spot.

I know I have ignored two of the cardinal rules of food photography: don’t photograph brown food and expect it to look appetizing, and always use natural light. But the thing is, gravy is brown. And so are sausages. And I still think they look really freaking appetizing. But maybe you had to be there. Also, it was cold and dark outside so artificial light was all I had. Really, this dish wouldn’t work so well on a bright sunny day so give me the benefit of the doubt and use your imagination. This truly was a hearty and delicious dish.

click to see it in all its gravy glory

Veggie Bangers and Mash (serves 4)

Ingredients:

4 medium Yukon gold potatoes

One package Tofurky Italian sausages (4 links)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 medium onion

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp stone ground mustard

1 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

1. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Place in a large pot, cover with water, and boil over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes or until tender.

2. Slice the sausages into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sausages when hot and cook until browned.

3. Cut the onion into thin slices. When the sausages are browned, remove them from the pan to a paper towel lined plate. Add the onion to the pan and saute until translucent.

4. When the potatoes are done cooking, drain them in a colander and return to the pot. Mash the potatoes, adding milk and butter until you reach teh desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

5. Add the flour to the onions and stire to coat. Cook for about one minute, then add the vegetable broth to the pan. Whisk in the mustard. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until this reduces to a gravy-like consistency.

6. Return the sausages to the gravy pan and stir to coat. Cook until warmed throughout.

7. Serve the sausages over the mashed potatoes.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 lb brussels sprouts

Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash and trim the brussels sprouts. Remove the stems.

3. Combine the brussels sprouts with the desired amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.

4. Cook in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until the leaves are brown and crispy, while the centers are still soft and green.