Pot Pie Perfection


Chicken pot pie was one of my favorite meals as a child.  My father made a tasty version… so did Stouffers!  We had both from time to time.  I remember the smell that filled the house when pot pie was on the dinner menu.  I remember being served individual size pies in all of their steaming glory and the sound that my fork made as I broke into the crust.  These memories were enough to make me want to share pot pie with my family.  I also like the idea of a kid friendly family meal that can use basically any veg I have on hand.  The sauce is what seals the deal on the kid friendly factor.  My kids like a creamy sauce, so I improvised and employed coconut crème concentrate.  You can use coconut milk or any milk of your choice.  Since we’re dairy free its coconut, almond or cashew milk for us when we’re looking for creamy!  Recreating pot pie with my twists means that we’re not using chicken.  We’re not talking about using fancy fake meats here either.  You can if you want, but I don’t think you’ll miss anything if you don’t.  If you want a toothsome bite try adding a few cups of shitake mushrooms that you’re just going to chunk rather than dice.

Good gluten free crust isn’t a hard thing.  Actually, gluten free vegan crust is a real cinch.  Not what you’d expect since gluten crusts are a royal pain in the you know what!  But I wouldn’t lie to you.  The crust I made tonight incorporates teff flour for a hearty, almost whole wheat flavor.  What you’re going to get when all is said and done is a nice crust that is a bit flaky.  It’s a crust that will crack when you whack it with the back of your fork and that’s a satisfying thing.  Almost more satifying is the simple fact that this crust will take you about 2 minutes to pull together.  Yupper!

Drop me a comment when you try this for yourself.  Remember to adapt the veg to your liking.  If you feed meat eaters you can always add in a cup of diced whatever once the sauce is done.  Mushrooms, quorn or beans would also be fine add-ins.

Vegetables

1 onion, diced, about 1 cup

4 carrots, diced, about 2 cups

1 bunch organic celery, sliced or diced, about 2 cups

1 tsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

½ lb corn kernels, fresh or frozen

½ lb green peas, fresh or frozen (not canned… canned peas are criminal!)

Sauce

4 cups water, hot

4 Tbsp broth powder

½ cup tapioca starch in ½ cup water

4 Tbsp coconut milk (or coconut crème if possible)

Several grinds of pepper

Crust

1 cup GF flour blend (I use Bob’s Red Mill but you can use your favorite)

½ cup teff flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

3 Tbsp vegan margarine (like Earth Balance)

½ cup cold water

Turn on your oven and get the thing headed to 425 degrees.

We’re going to start by prepping our veg, so dice the onion, carrots and celery and mince the garlic.  Heat your olive oil over medium high heat in a large sauté pan.  Throw in the onion, carrots and celery and stir them up to coat with the oil.  It’s important to move the veg around every few minutes so nothing burns.  We’re looking for the onions to soften, lose their edgy bite and gain a hint of golden color.  The celery and carrots are in the pot to soften a hint but not turn to mush.  After 6 minutes stir in your garlic and let it sauté with the other veg.  Top to bottom on this step, 8 minutes.  Spoon the cooked veg into a bowl and set aside.

Okay, add 4 cups of hot water to the sauté pan that the veg came out of.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits.  Sprinkle your broth powder over the water and whisk it in until it’s well incorporated.  If you have homemade vegetable stock or another prepared broth you can substitute it.  While the broth is coming up to a simmer let’s prep our thickener.  Put the tapioca starch into a small bowl and pour ½ cup of cold water over it.  Stir or whisk until the starch dissolves in the water.  Set this bowl aside until your broth is boiling.  When you see your broth boiling go ahead and grab your whisk and begin to whisk the broth as you pour in the starch water.  The broth will sauce with lots of vegthicken quickly.  As soon as it does take it off the heat.  Tapioca starch is great, but it will lose its hold if you boil it for too long.  Add the coconut milk and stir it into the hot mixture.  If you have coconut crème concentrate I recommend using it because you’ll end up with a creamier sauce. Take those cooked veg that you set aside earlier and mix them into the sauce.  Last step in the prep is to toss in the corn and peas and stir to combine.

Time to work on the crust.  A stand mixer makes quick work of this step, so let’s dust yours off and bang it out!  Gluten free crust is much easier to manage than gluten crusts, in my opinion.  You’ll see why in a minute… I mean that!  Add all of the ingredients into the mixer, hook in your paddle attachment and lock everything down.  Set your paddle on low speed for a few seconds to work in the Earth balance and then increase the speed for about a minute.  You’ll watch the mixture change from something dry to something crumbly and then something that looks like a regular old dough.  If whats in your mixer is too dry add a tablespoon of water and mix again.  If your mixture is too wet add a tablespoon or two of teff.  Your dough won’t be sticky or dry… it will be perfect!finished teff dough

Lightly flour your work surface with rice flour or teff flour.  Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thick.  If you are making one big pot pie then roll the dough out to your pan dimensions.  If you are making individual pot pies just cut the dough into circles to fit your ramekins.

I made individual pot pies in 1 cup ramekins.  If you’re following my lead go on and spoon about ¾ cup of veg/sauce into each ramekin and top with a round of dough.  You’re going to bake the little guys off for about 18 minutes or until the crust is firm.  I’ll say that I didn’t notice any browning, but the dough is dark due to the teff.  Give the tops a tap and when they’re firm and sound dry you’re ready to take them out.  Making one big pan?  Okay.  Spoon the filling into the baking dish of your choice and top it with the dough.  This guy will go into the oven for anywhere between 25 and 40 minutes depending on the size of your baking dish.  Again, your rule of thumb for when its done is going to be tapping it.

ready for the ovenhot out of the oven

Whatever size you make, let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

If you have leftover dough you can make empanadas or turnovers or just bake extra rounds and eat them with hummus  or use them as a pizza crust base.

extra dough

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One Response to Pot Pie Perfection

  1. Sarah says:

    Yummmmm!! Whew, now I know what’s for dinner tonight!

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