Friday, October 31, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers-Vegetable Pot Pie

I will admit I have glanced at this recipe for years in my Barefoot Contessa Parties Cookbook but somehow it never made my first choice of things to make. When Deb of Kahakai Kitchen chose it for one of this month's Barefoot Blogger picks I was ambivalent. I briefly thought of adding chicken to this dish because I wasn't sure I would want a pot pie with just vegetables. I was also not sure about some of the ingredients for the sauce. Well, I've learned my lesson that I should trust Ina. This was absolutely delicious. It was very rich and filling. The crust was buttery and flaky and the sauce inside really savory. I made a few changes to the recipe. I omitted the sauteed onion and fennel and added some onion powder to the sauce instead. I also substituted Sambuca for the Pernod. This recipes does take time to prepare and is also time intensive for cooking. I recommend some advance planning when making this one. I prepped and chopped all of the vegetables in the morning and then made the pie crust in the afternoon while cooking the vegetables and the sauce. Another note, be careful when adding the ice water to the dough. I only used 1/2 cup and my dough was very sticky. This dish is also very versatile, you can change up the vegetables to suit your tastes or add chicken, turkey, or even salmon. This would be a perfect dish for entertaining. What could be more comforting and fun to serve than individual pot pies. One of the many things I love about my casual china is that it is oven proof so I was able to make mine using that. I can't wait for the perfect occasion to make these again.

Vegetable Pot Pie
Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties!

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions) (omitted)
  • 1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise (omitted)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod (I substituted Sambuca)
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry: 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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