Thursday, 23 October 2008

Vegetable Pot Pie


This week in Barefoot Blogging, the lovely and talented Deb of Kahakai Kitchen has chosen Vegetable Pot Pies which can be found on page 255 of Barefoot Contessa Parties!

This is a most timely dish as our last vestiges of summer have slipped away and left us with chilly winds and wet snow! What's a girl to do? Curl up with a bowl of vegetable pot pie, that's what.

I followed the directions exactly, only substituting brandy for the Pernod and peas for the asparagus (which is not in season in Ontario). I used some old french onion soup bowls that a friend passed on to me because she thought they were ugly! I love the old style bowls and made the pastry rough and rustic to match them. These pot pies need no bread or sides, save perhaps a simple green salad, as they are quite filling and satisfying on their own. The built in lid keeps the stew inside hot for frozen commuters as they walk in the door. Nothing says love like homemade pot pies in the oven.
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The only caveat - I would make the pastry first and put it in the fridge while you make the rest of the dish.


Vegetable Pot Pies
Ingredients
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod
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

Directions
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.



Are they delicious? But of course! They are from Ina. The lady never lets me down. Make sure you have her new book on order - it will be out very soon! Check out the Barefoot Bloggers blogroll to see how the others fared.