Vegetable Pot Pie

by angelika on January 1, 2011

For Christmas Eve dinner this year we made a Vegetable Pot Pie. I have made many a pot pie over the years, and this one is hands down the very best I have every made. Maybe even the very best I have ever eaten. It was as if all the food gods aligned and every last detail turned out perfectly. The vegetables were all tender without being mushy, the crust was perfectly flaky and crisp on the bottom, the gravy was decadent without being overpowering. True food bliss. Everyone in my family, even picky Little Man who usually wants to live on air, devoured it and went back for seconds.

Vegetable Pot Pie
 
Crust 
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt 
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup shortening (non hydrogenated)
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
3-4 TBS ice water 
 
Filling 
2 TBS olive oil
1 leek, white part, diced
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
3 carrots, diced 
4-6 baby yukon gold potatoes, cubed
2 cups broccoli fleurettes, tiny
1.5 cups peas 
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
 
Mushroom Gravy
1/4 cup cashews, pan toasted and ground to a powder
2 tbs butter
2 tbs flour
2 cups mushroom soup, (I use Imagine creamy portobello soup
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp sage
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp tamari
 
1 egg with 1tsp of water for egg wash
This recipe may look a little complicated and off-putting at first, but it is actually pretty simple. We just have to work through three steps. The crust and the gravy are old standards of mine. It is the same crust we have used for everything from Apple Pie to Fig and Goat Cheese Tart. This time however, it has a twist. I made it a savory crust with the addition of garlic powder and parmesan cheese. It was an experiment, and it payed off big time! This crust is the best of the best, and it is definitely what made this version of pot pie so very special. 
 
Crust:
In a large bowl whisk together both flours, salt, garlic powder, and the parmesan cheese. If you don’t have WW pastry flour you can use all AP, but I prefer to add whole grains where ever I can, and I really like the nuttiness it adds to the crust. 
 
Using a pastry cutter mix in the shortening and the butter. I like to chop the butter into pieces and then put them back in the fridge. You want the butter really cold. The blend of butter and shorting is essential. The butter gives a gorgeous flavor and the shortening a flaky crust. You want to keep mixing until the dough resembles peas and cornmeal. 
 
this is what it looks like when I am done
 
Add ice water, 1 TBS at a time, stirring with a fork until it just comes together. You will use a little less water than usual as the parmesan cheese has some water content. I used 3TBS. 
 
this is what it looks like when I decide it is perfect
you can see that it comes together easily when I kneed it against the bowl.

You want the dough to come together with the least amount of water possible to ensure that it is flaky. You should try to handle it quickly and gently so as not to melt all the butter.

 
worked into a ball

Work it into a ball, cut the ball in half, work each half into a disk and then wrap it it wax paper or plastic wrap. You then want to let the disk rest in the fridge for at least 30 min. 

Preheat the oven to 350º. For the pot pie we are going to blind bake the bottom crust, and it is essential. This is the only way to ensure that the bottom crust is crispy instead of the dreaded mushy bottom. Roll out one of the pie crusts in between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Then lay it into your pie dish and trim the edges. Cover the crust with parchment or buttered foil, butter side down. Then fill the crust with beans.

Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully remove the beans and foil. Prick the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork to prevent bubbling. Then put it back in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Don’t worry if there are small cracks or a few broken edges, the top crust will cover most imperfections.
Filling:
Now on to the filling. You can actually prepare this part while you wait for the crust dough to chill, if you are looking to be efficient with time. I usually make my crust in the morning and let it rest, and then take it out and finish the meal in the late afternoon. You can use literally anything to stuff your pot pie, so don’t feel attached to my list. If you have onions and not leek and shallot, fine. If you don’t like broccoli and you have a head of cauliflower that needs to be used, substitute it. The only real rule you need to follow is to make sure all the pieces are about the same size, and you want them small. No bigger than a 1″ dice. This ensures even cooking. When you start to brown your veggies, put them in the pan in order of how long they usually take to cook.
Start with the leeks and shallots, and saute them in olive oil on medium heat until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cook a minute more. Add the carrots and celery and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and saute for 3 minutes. Add the potatoes and a pinch of salt, and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the thyme and oregano. Then add the peas. Mine were frozen and thus contained water. If you use fresh, add 1/4 cup of water with your peas. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are al dente. Taste for salt, and adjust if you need to.
Mushroom Gravy
This Cashew Mushroom gravy is so rich and decadent, it hits all the right notes in the comfort food arena. The cashews give a robust fattiness to the gravy, apparently reminiscent of sausage gravy. I could, and perhaps sometimes do, eat it by the spoonful. This is the same gravy I use in my Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, and I had a few comments telling me they doubted this gravy, only to come back and say it was the very best part. If you have extra it freezes well, you just need to add some water when you reheat it. The extra mushroom soup also freezes well, so I always put the other half of the soup- since the carton is 4 cups- into the freezer. 
Whisk the butter and flour for a couple of minutes
add the soup mix and whisk until it thickens
Add the cashew powder and the seasonings.
Preheat the oven to 400º.
Fill your pie shell with the vegetable mixture. Cover generously in gravy, poking a few holes in the veggies to make sure the gravy distributes down.  Roll out the top pie crust, and cover the dish. Make a decorative crimp or pinch on the border. I used my trusty piecrust cutters to utilize the scarps and decorate my pie. Make a few vent holes. I hid mine behind my leaf motif.
Beat an egg with a tsp of water and brush over the crust. Bake at 400º for about 25-30 minutes. I put a piece of foil on top after 20 minutes to protect my cutouts. You are looking for a golden crust with a bubbly filling. Let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
right out of the oven, isn’t it beautiful?
look how perfect that cut is, the bottom crust just as flaky as the top!
A votre santé!
And Happy New Year!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa R January 6, 2011 at 12:46 am

I tried this for the first time last night and it was amazingly delicious. The mushroom gravy is like heaven. The crust was flaky and buttery and just slightly cheesy. This is definitely a recipe I will be making often.

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Anonymous October 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Hi, I'm new to your blog and must say this recipe looks amazing. But I'm afraid I don't know what a non-hydrogenated shortening would be. Crisco is all I know as shortening. Brand name please? Thanks

Reply

Angelika October 17, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Hi, Thanks for asking. The brand I use is Spectrum Naturals. Crisco is the kind of shortening I try to avoid. Here is the link for the brand I use, I get the plain one, not butter flavor. You can find this product at any health food store, or you can order it from Amazon. I hope you love the pot pie as much as we do!

http://www.spectrumorganics.com/?id=87

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