Saturday, January 12, 2008

Vegetable Pot Pie

Well, it looks like my obsession with baking has overtaken my usual cooking. I just can't seem to get enough, not only am I baking all day, now I'm looking for ways to continue baking right into the evening! I guess it doesn't help that it's been raining here for like 700 days straight now and I need comfort. When I was a kid, as I've mentioned before, we mostly ate British food and that consists of a few staples; baked beans, pickled beets and pickled onions, hp sauce, french fries or 'chips' and pies, lots and lots of pies. Therefore, a comfort meal for me is a pie with a side of beans, it is one of my favorite meals. My parents used to serve the beans right on top of the pie so you would eat them together, mmmmm.

I haven't had this meal in a long time and I rarely bake savoury pies but with my current inkling for all things baked and being that it's freezing over here, it was an obvious choice. The pastry crust recipe is one I found on Simply Recipes. It turned out flaky and tender and baked up beautifully. As for the filling, I just experimented and used up a bunch of vegetables I had in the fridge. The pie was perfect, it was exactly what I looking for. I think I'll put this on the regular roster, afterall, it satisfies so much more than my hungry belly.


Pie Crust, Courtesy of Simply Recipes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (best to chill cubes in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
3 to 4 Tbsp ice water
Egg Wash (1 egg whisked with 1 TBS water)

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse 5 times to combine. And the shortening and pulse a few more times, until the dough resembles a coarse cornmeal, with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Slowly stream in ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the dough sticks together when you press some between your fingers. Empty the food processor, placing the dough on a clean surface. Use your hands to mold into a ball, then flatten the ball into a disk. Sprinkle with a little flour, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days, before rolling. Prepare the crust. Roll out dough on a lightly flour surface to a little less than a quarter-inch thick. Cut dough in half and lay each half in the bottom of a mini aluminum pie plate. Trim off overhanging dough and apply a little egg wash. Add the filling to the top of the pie plate. Re roll the trimmed dough to the same thickness. Again, cut in half and lay the dough on each pie. Use the tines of a fork to press the edges of the dough together. Cut a 1 inch vent into each pie. Use a pastry brush to apply an egg wash to each pie. Line a baking sheet with foil, place the pies on the baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1 small onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 potatoes
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped finely
2 TBS parsley, chopped finely
3-4 TBS heavy cream
s&p to taste

Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes or until tender, once tender, allow to cool until you can handle them and then chop into 1/2 inch cubes. Saute onion, carrots, celery and broccoli in the butter for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and carrots are tender. Add the garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes. Add the flour to the vegetables and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 6-7 minutes or until sauce is gravy like consistency. Add the cream, potatoes, peas, corn and parsley, stir all together, cover and remove from heat.

Makes 2 individual pies.

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