Do you have food crushes? Food day dreams? I mean, maybe working on a web site dedicated to food makes me more prone to them but I don't think that's it. Because I had these little food obsessions long before the birth of SPC. My latest? Chicken Pot Pie. At this time of year it's exactly what I feel like eating. A cozy blanket of a dinner. A hot bath of a lunch! But the more I thought about it the more I was inclined to shake it up.
As you know we're big believers in adding meatless mains to your roster. Late fall and winter might not seem like the greatest time to dive into vegetarian cooking but we're here, keeping the dream alive. And once I started thinking about what a veggie pot pie might be, I couldn't stop. This one is really easy to make. If you're feeling ambitious you could make your own pastry but I don't have a problem with little cheats like frozen puff pastry. And feel free to mix it up! Add carrots, spinach, zucchini… it's a good recipe for clearing out the fridge.
photos by Maya Visneyi
Veggie Pot Pies
makes 6 individual pies
4 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 lbs cremini mushrooms, cleaned and diced
2 cups butternut squash, cubed (I used frozen and let it thaw out a bit but not entirely before starting)
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup light cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 package frozen puff pastry (397 grams)
Take your puff pastry package out of the freezer and leave it in the fridge overnight or on the counter for an hour to thaw.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Put onion, garlic, squash, mushrooms, celery, thyme and pepper in the pot and let it all cook for 12 to 15 minutes until the vegetables soften. Give it all a stir every few minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir. It will look pretty gunky but just let it cook like that for a minute or two to get rid of the raw flour taste. Stir in the stock, cream and frozen peas. Allow it to simmer for just a couple of minutes. Taste and see if you need a bit of salt. I confess I did, even though I try to go easy on salt.
On a lightly floured countertop, roll out your puff pastry until it is quite thin, say 1/4 inch or even less if you can manage. Cut into squares that will your ramekins and flop over the edges a bit. I cut mine into about 4 by 4 inch squares. Sorry to be so loose with the measurements, I was sort of freestyling.
Ladle your vegetable mixture into your ramekins, no need to prepare them in any way. Place a little pastry lid over each one. Quickly whisk an egg with just a bit of water in a small bowl. Brush the top of each pie with the egg wash. Take a sharp knife and score slits into the pastry tops.
Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet — don't skip this step. You don't want to be fussing with hot bubbling pies one by one. Pop the cookie sheet in a hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes until the crusts are golden. Depending on how your oven works you may want to turn the sheet around half way through. Allow to rest and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. They will be hot, hot, hot.