It's been autumn for a mere few days now, and I'm already forsaking tomatoes and tender greens in favor of things that scream 'starch' and are best achieved by spending time in the oven. It's the time when kitchens start to transition from bright and succulent dishes to ones that provide carbohydrates and comfort. No doubt, some gene memories nudging us to start bulking up for the upcoming battle against the winter months' bleak fields and frigid temperatures. (Gene memories seem unwilling to recognize indoor heating and the modern supermarket. They're smart.)
Which leads me to perhaps the ultimate in comfort foods: The pot pie! The meat pot pie has a colorful (if not cruel) history. The ancient Romans were fond of flaky pies with live birds beneath the crust. Oy. By the time the dish drifted to America in the 19th century, the flavor of the day was robins. (And I always thought that 'four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie' was a metaphor.)
But for those who shun eating animal parts - not to mention live birds - there is no need to sacrifice pot pies! This recipe, adapted from a recipe for Chique Pot Pie on VegWeb provides all the warm, toasty comfort of a pot pie...no chirping creatures required.
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 large carrots, diced finely
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed finely
- 1 1/2 tablespoon flour
- olive oil, as needed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon basil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup peas
- 6 ounces firm tofu (you can substitute seitan or fake chicken here if you like)
- 3 cups flour
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 1 1/3 cups olive oil (or mix olive and canola)
1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Heat vegetable broth in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add carrots and potatoes. Add flour and stir continuously until dissolved.
2. Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil and spices until soft and transparent. Add onion mix to the vegetable broth mix, then fold in the peas. Simmer for 15 minute until the vegetables are soft and the broth is thick. Add tofu.
3. Mix crust ingredients, and separate the dough into two pieces. Roll out both halves in between plastic wrap and place bottom into a 10-inch casserole dish - you can also skip rolling and press it in with your fingers.
4. Pour filling onto the crust-lined dish. Add the top pie crust on. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
5. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes. Serve. Enjoy the birds outside.