Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veggie Pot Pie: Recipe and Results

Check out this recipe on my new and improved website:

The Process:
When I was vegan (2006-2009-- I rolled with the social justice crew in college), I got a super hip cookbook by a super hip vegan named Sarah Kramer. With her kitten heels (I bought some), dyed black hair (got pretty close), bright red lipstick (had some but was too afraid to wear it), tattoos (still want one), and ugly/awesome ultra-short bangs (didn't do that, thank goodness), I somewhat secretly thought she was the coolest person ever. Of course, I knew would have to move to Europe and change my name in order to pull off being Sarah Kramer (same reality check as when I wanted to be Gwen Stefani in high school), so I proceeded to be myself... just the vegan version.

Her book, La Dolce Vegan, had a phenomenal Veggie Pot Pie recipe that I made on a regular basis. I think I may have even taken one to my family's Thanksgiving dinner to share. It worked beautifully as a main course for me and a side for all the turkey eaters. When I decided that this would be the week to do a Veggie Pot Pie, I discovered that my vegan cookbook was back in California, stored with all my other childhood and college artifacts. So, of course, I started searching online. I remembered that there were a lot of root vegetables and that it had thyme and soy sauce. Random memory, I know. The closest recipe I found was an adapted version of the book's Portobello Pot Pie, so I adapted the adaptation and rolled with it. I took only a few days to memorize the recipe, which is why I only have one post for you.

The Verdict:

The filling of the pot pie could have been a bit soupier (it was quite starchy-- not a bad thing, but not what I think of when considering pot pie). Aside from that, it had magnificent flavor. Don't be afraid of all the soy sauce-- when mixed in with the water it does not taste too salty. This dish definitely should be served with a light fall salad (mine was mixed greens, pomegranate, and toasted walnut). It is quite simple-- make the crust, make the filling, put together, and bake. If you have a vegan guest, make this for a fall get together and pat yourself on the back for being such an accommodating host!
Hearty enough for a main course, and very inexpensive thanks to root veggies
The Recipe: Veggie Pot Pie, adapted from
Yield: 1 pot pie (8 servings)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 5 tbsp ice water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 red potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1/2" thick half-rings
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1" cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried sage powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes, until soft. At the 10-minute mark, add the dried shiitake mushrooms to reconstitute them. Save 2 cups of cooking water in a separate bowl, drain the rest and return to the pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan.
  • Add the onion, celery, and carrot and cook until slightly translucent, about 4-6 minutes.
  • Add the portobello mushrooms, rosemary sprigs, sage, and thyme. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Pour in soy sauce and reserved potato cooking water and simmer for 5 minutes. Gradually add the flour, stirring until the liquid thickens and resembles a gravy. Turn off the heat and remove rosemary sprigs (the leaves can stay as long as the stems are gone).
  • Pour the vegetable mixture over the potatoes and shiitake mushrooms. Stir thoroughly until incorporated.
Using the cooking water to make the gravy preserves the veggie flavor 
Be sure to stir carefully so you don't break up the rosemary too much.
You'll need to remove the stems later.
Measure out the flour ahead of time,
and it will be easier to control how much goes in the pan.

Mix thoroughly to ensure the most even distribution of ingredients.
  • To make the crust, mix the flour and salt together, then cut in the shortening.*
  • Once the dough looks looks like it has large pearls of shortening in it (we don't want the lumps much bigger or smaller), add the water gradually and stir until the dough comes together.
  • Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Roll them out on a floured surface to make two pie crusts (9" diameter).
  • Line a pie tin with one of the crusts. Press gently around the bottom of the tin, so there is no air in between the tin and the crust. The crust edge should slightly hang over the edge of the tin.
  • Fill the crust with the filling.
  • Lay the second crust over the top. Pinch the edges closed and cut off the excess pie crust.
  • With a fork, gently poke the top of the crust about 5 times.
  • Put the pot pie in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the crust has baked to a firm, golden-brown shell.
The dough should not feel wet, but it should be soft and stay together fairly well.
My roommate tackled and mastered the pie crust on his first try!
My preferred surface for rolling out dough is a floured counter or table...
cutting boards are far too wiggly. 
I made two pot pies :)
Pinch and cut
Poke, poke, poke, poke, poke 
Don't be fooled by the size of the pie-- these portions are dense!
  • Cutting in shortening: The thing that makes pie crust nice and flaky is the small pockets of fat (shortening, in our case) that stay separate from the flour until the dish is baked. For that reason, you should take every precaution possible to ensure that the fat does not get too warm and therefore mix in too thoroughly with the flour. Some tricks for this are below:
    • Use chilled shortening
    • Use ice water
    • Use your hands as little as possible. To incorporate the flour and shortening, I use two table knives and move through the dough in an X motion, cutting first from top-left to bottom-right (with my right hand), then from top-right to bottom left (with my left hand). Check out this video for the cutting technique (skip to :50 for the cutting technique-- the ingredient list is a bit different from ours, so you can ignore it)
    • Make your pie crust not too long before you fill and bake the dish (otherwise keep them in the fridge until you are ready to bake).

1 comment:

  1. So, when did you say your plane arrives for Thanksgiving? :)