24 March 2011

recipe: root vegetable pot pie

Every few months I make a list of things I'm want to cook. Usually these are more project-based meals or just something I haven't attempted before. Because I do the majority of my cooking very impulsively and without any recipes, when I have to think and plan out my meals, it heightens the whole experience. So here we are, my first pot pie.

I opted for the one big dish approach, with no crust on the bottom. I was planning to make a herbed pie dough for the top, but basically wound up making an herbed biscuit-like top instead (because I was feeling lazy and didn't want to take the time to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out). Sweet and smooth and savory, pot pie hits the comfort food spot right on the money. Plus, I made so much that I was able to freeze several individual portions that I'm sure I'll be glad to have as the cool weather persists a bit longer.

Root Vegetable Pot Pie with Sage and Thyme Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
Makes about 8-10 servings

For the Filling
Note: All of your vegetables should be about the same size when cut-- about 1/2" cubes.
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 small onions, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 medium celeriac (1 lb), peeled and diced
3 small parsnips, peeled and diced
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
4-6 small potatoes (1/2 lb), diced
1 sweet potato (1/2 lb), peeled and diced
1 tablespoon herbes de provence
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 tablespoon fresh)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 to 3 1/2 cups almond milk (or any other milk or non-dairy substitute)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Olive Oil and Fresh Herb Cornmeal Biscuit Topping
2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 375ยบ.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sweat together until they begin to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in remaining vegetables and herbs, cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the herbs are well distributed and the vegetables are beginning to soften. Stir in the flour for 1 minute, then add the almond milk, mixing well to dissolve the flour. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes, or until all of the veggies are tender, adding a bit more milk or water if you'd like more sauce. Test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, make your biscuit topping. In a food processor or in a bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, chopped herbs, salt and pepper. Mix in the olive oil and water until well combined.

Pour the cooked vegetable mixture into a 9"x13" baking dish and top with evenly spaced spoonfuls of the biscuit dough. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is cooked and golden and the dish is bubbling. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Goes great with a fresh green salad on the side.

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