Chicken Pot Pie is one of Johnny's *favorite* meals. I held off on attempting to veganize it for one reason: I was scared of making the crust! Homemade pastry always seems so time consuming and messy. An easier option would be to do a top crust only version using frozen puff pastry, but Johnny has to have his pot pie a certain way - crust on top AND bottom. What a diva.
A few weeks back, I finally decided to give it a go after a visit to the Union Square Greenmarket. I picked up some crimini mushrooms, onions, new potatoes, and the biggest carrots I've ever seen! I didn't have a plan in mind, but the ingredients just screamed "POT PIE" so I set out to find a base recipe as I've never made a pot pie from scratch. I settled on one from Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes, a really beautiful blog by Vaishali who has allowed me to share her recipe with you! I made the crust exactly as she did, but changed up the filling a bit. I wasn't too keen on using sweet potato or tofu in my pie as I wanted it to be as authentic as possible, so instead I added mushrooms, celery, and corn.
The crust was really tasty, not quite as flaky as I'd thought it would be, but I think it's due to the size of the baking dish I used (a 8 1/2" x 11" glass dish). I had to roll out the pastry pretty thin to cover the top and bottom, but I didn't want to use a smaller dish and waste a bunch of filling. Vaishali uses a round pie plate and her crust looks a lot thicker and flakier. Crust envy! I also used regular whole wheat flour rather than whole wheat pastry flour, so that probably had an effect. As for the filling, it was like a cornucopia of veggies! Next time, I may scale back on the types of veggies I use and add in some cooked and diced Gardein Chick'n Scallopini.
Johnny seemed to really enjoy it and went back for seconds - love it when that happens! This version is so much healthier than any pot pie you would find at a restaurant (have you ever looked at the nutrition info on one of those Marie Callendar's frozen pot pies? Makes you wanna grab a chair and go all Chris Brown on the nearest window). So give it a try, mix it up, try some new fillings and let me know how it goes!
Vegan Pot Pie
(I am posting the recipe as I cooked it, but click here for the original)
For the crust:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tbsp vegetable shortening
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried herbs
1/4 cup very cold water
Combine the flours, salt and herbs in a large mixing bowl. Add in the shortening and use a fork to cut it into the flour until no large chunks remain. Slowly drizzle in the water and mix until a dough forms and no loose flour remains (you may not use the entire 1/4 cup of water). Divide the dough in two and form two balls. Cover each in plastic wrap and refrigerate as you make your filling.
For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
3 small onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (Or one Schwarzenegger carrot)
4-5 small thin skinned potatotes, skin left on, diced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used crimini)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 tsp fresh diced thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups plain soymilk
2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tbsp vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance)
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until transluscent, but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the carrots, potatoes, peas, corn, mushrooms, celery, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Add the soymilk, flour, and margarine and stir until combined. Cook for 5-10 more minutes until vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray your baking dish with canola oil spray. Lightly flour a surface and roll out one portion of the dough until it is in the shape of your baking dish. Transfer to the dish ensuring that about 1 inch hangs over the sides of the dish. Pour your filling into the baking dish and smooth out the top. Roll out the rest of the dough and place on top of the filling. Seal the top and bottom crusts by using a fork to crimp the edges.
(The original recipe stated to brush the top of the crust with a mixture of 1 tbsp soymilk and 1 tbsp oil, but I don't think this assisted the browning process much. Next time I will brush with melted Earth Balance or spray with canola oil spray.)
Cut an X in the middle of the pie to allow it to vent while cooking. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour. The pie is done when the crust turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before cutting and serving.
Nutrition info per serving: Calories 292; Total Fat 11.3 g; Saturated Fat 2.5g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 375 mg; Carbohydrates 41g; Dietary Fiber 4.2g; Sugars 5.4g; Protein 7.6g; Vitamin A 97%; Vitamin C 18%; Calcium 7%; Iron 9%