Root Vegetable Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

by angelika on December 2, 2010

The Root Vegetable Pot Pie has been the center of our Thanksgiving dinner for at least 5 years. Maybe longer. I made this dish the day before Little Man was born, and I often look back at the pictures of our last Thanksgiving as a family of two. I am huge and swollen, clearly over being pregnant, yet we still manage to have this amazing and beautiful Thanksgiving dinner to celebrate our little family, which is about to get bigger. The anticipation is clearly palpable. I also made this dish as my contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner at my Dad’s house the year before, the year that we announced our engagement and introduced my husband to my side of the family. So I would call this a special occasion meal for me, one with many amazing memories.

Root Vegetable Pot Pie
serves 8-12

4 leeks, cut into slices
3 carrots cut into 1″ pieces
3 parsnips cut into 1″ pieces
1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
1 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
8 oz portobello mushrooms, cut into thick slices
3-4 TBS olive oil
3-4 TBS butter
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
6 TBS cold unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 cup cream or milk
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
2 TBS fresh of 1 TBS dried marjoram
This recipe comes from The Joy of Cooking. It was made for me many years ago and I co-opted the recipe and made it one of my signature dishes. It serves a lot. I would say 8-12 as a side. As our main Thanksgiving dish this year, we cut the recipe in half and the four of us still only finished a little over half. It does make wonderful leftovers though! 
The key to success in this dish is uniform pieces of vegetables, which you brown separately and then combine into a baking dish to finish. This does add to the prep time, but it is so worth it in the end. If you skip this step you inevitably get some vegetables that are not cooked all the way, while some are mushy. The recipe is very specific as to the order in which you brown the vegetables, so I have always followed suit. The payoff is a wonderful warm, hearty,  and well balanced dish. The sweetness of the carrots and the squash play nicely with the more earthy flavors of celery root and parsnip. The texture of the mushroom really adds body to the softness of the vegetables. The icing in the cake, so to speak, is the light and fluffy cheddar biscuit topping. 
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan. Brown the leek on medium high heat. When leek is soft and turing brown transfer it to a baking dish. The recipe calls for 13 x 9. The dish I used this year is 10 X 7. The one I usually use is a large Le Creuset cast iron baker that is 15 x 10. 

Next brown the carrots and the parsnips together, adding more butter to the pan beforehand if need be. Season with salt and pepper and place them in the baking dish. Add more butter and oil, then brown the celery root. Season it with salt and pepper and add to the baking dish. 
Turn the heat to high, add more butter and oil, and brown the squash. Season with salt and pepper and place in baking dish. 
Lastly, saute the mushrooms and add them to baking dish. Gently mix items together using kitchen tongs or two forks. Pour in 4 cups of vegetable stock and add the marjoram. Cover with foil and bake at 400º for 30-45 minutes. You want the veggies to be tender. Mine took 40 minutes. 
While it bakes prepare the biscuit topping. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. 
Using a pastry blender or two knives cut in the butter. You want to make sure the butter is really cold. I like to cut it into cubes and then put it back in the fridge to set up again. You are looking for a texture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs. 

Add in the cream, cheese, garlic and pepper. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together. 

Turn it our onto a board and kneed a bit, just until you can form a ball. The original recipe calls for you to drop spoonfuls of biscuit on the dish, but I don’t care for the aesthetics of drop biscuits. One year I covered the whole thing in biscuit crust, which was good. Just make sure you have a vent hole in the middle for steam to escape. This year I rolled the dough out and cut rectangles, which I loved. It helps to designate a serving size too, which is always helpful. 

Even though I cut the recipe in half I still make all the biscuit dough. These biscuits are amazing. So crisp and fluffy, with just a touch of garlic and cheddar. I froze the other half of the dough and we had them for breakfast later in the week with leftover gravy and some tempeh “bacon”. Nothing like biscuits and gravy, vegetarian style. 
Lay your biscuits on top of the vegetables and put them back in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You are looking for the biscuits to be puffed up and nice and golden. Let the whole dish rest for at least 10 minutes before you serve. 
A votre santé! 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kate February 23, 2011 at 8:05 pm

This was a huge hit in my house! And I make the biscuits all the time now!

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