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Vegetable Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie Vegetable Pot Pie

I’m running around like a crazed banshee this holiday season. The upper half of our house is still a building site, and we’re living downstairs. On top of that, we’ve got house guests coming from London in less than two weeks. That’s right, it’s a ‘lil crazy up in here. Plastic sheeting has been used to tape us off from the worst of the building mess, but today we spent the first half of the day in an all out assault against dust. Who ya gonna call: DUST BUSTERS! Two days a week we are sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning glass, changing bedding, on top of the usual Sunday ritual of laundry and groceries. One more week to go and we’ll be finished! It’s been 4 months of building work and camping out, so I’m feeling a little sorry for myself.. Pardon my “let it all hang out” attitude this week.

Ever since I had a Linda McCartney country pie years ago in England, I’ve always wanted to make my own pies, but I have been putting it off for years…..because I have a phobia of making pastry. O.k, it’s certainly low in the Richter scale of dirty laundry, but an admission nevertheless. How on earth did I get so afraid of plain flour, a pinch of salt, and butter? Lord knows I’ve had worse battles. In an effort to break the spell, I played around all week, trying different recipes. Apart from one, they were all fabulous. The winner was the “Hot Crust Pastry” recipe from Larousse Gastronomique. If you’re not an expert in a certain area, why mess with the rest? My only changes were the use of organic ingredients and Earth’s Best vegetarian margarine. This recipe requires the least amount of time and effort, the pastry holds well, and soaks up the juices perfectly. Just call me your very own personal food editor. That’s what I’m here for folks.

My pot pie filling is rich and hearty, with diced broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and potatoes, and seasoned with parsley, sage, thyme. So here it is, badda bang badda boom, my very own Vegetable Pot Pie.

Vegetable Pot Pie

small onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 tsp parsley, sage, and thyme
2 cups vegetable stock
tablespoon of tomato paste
1/2 cup grated mature cheddar
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoon tamari sauce or dark soy sauce
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 (14 in. around the top) individual pie dishes

Hot Crust Pastry
1 1/2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons 
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Earth’s Best vegetable margarine
egg yolk mixed with a teaspoon of water (optional)

Make the filling:
1. In separate batches, steam the broccoli, carrots, and potatoes, for 2 minutes each, then set aside. Remember to keep a bite to the vegetables, as they will fully cook in the pie later.
2. In a pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, and cook the onions for 2 minutes, adding the garlic, cooking for one minute until soft. Add the plain flour, stirring frequently, until it begins to cook, then slowly add the vegetable stock 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until it thickens, then adding more stock until it’s finished. Stir in the tomato paste, tamari, and dried herbs, and mushrooms. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cheddar, stirring  until it melts. Cover, turn off the heat, and allow to cool.
3. When the sauce is completely cool, stir in the vegetables, cover, and set aside.

For the pastry:
You may triple this recipe as there is no baking powder, but take care to measure precisely. I played it safe by making three batches (it’s so easy). Each round of dough makes two tops and two bottoms. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
1. Mix the flour with the salt in a bowl. Heat the milk, water, butter, and margarine in a pan on low heat. 
2. When melted, bring the mixture up to a boil, then pour it in to the flour. Working quickly and carefully (as it will be hot), knead the dough by hand in the bowl. Do not over-knead or it will become greasy. Allow the dough to cool and set for 1-2 minutes.
3. Roll out the dough on a floured board thinly (not so thin that it will break though though). Use the dish to cut a top and bottom, cutting slightly outside of the edge for the bottom.
4. Grease each dish with margarine, line with dough, pushing the dough towards the top of the dish. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the filling. With wet fingertips, moisten the edges of the dough at the top, then cover with another disk of dough. Crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat until all of the dishes are finished.
5. Glaze the pies with egg yolk, set on a baking tray, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops are crusty and golden.

Serve with Simple Sauteed Carrots and Thyme, Braised Red Cabbage and Apples in Balsamic Vinegar, or a leafy green salad.  

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