The saying goes: “March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.” If you would have stated this last weekend I would have agreed. Seattle was beautiful; it was sunny, in the 50’s, flowers and trees everywhere were blooming, and the sweet smell of spring was in the air. Fast forward and today it is windy, damp, has been raining hard since last night, and it is in the chilly 50’s Funny how the sun could make such a difference. Where did my lamb go? The lion feels like it is back and ready to roar. Believe it or not I had to cater an event today. And yes, they were planning for nicer weather because we were practically outside for this event. They were expecting over 200 people and were hosting the party in a covered area, but not in the open. My chef jacket was completely wet by the time I parked my car and helped get all the desserts in and under covering. By the time we were done plating all the desserts I was so ready to go home to my nice warm apartment and have a nice comforting meal.
As I drove across downtown at rush hour my mind was wondering to all the things I could make for dinner. Pasta and Vodka Sauce? Pizza? Soup? Roasted Veggies? My imagination was not peaked, and then I remembered the extra Pie Dough (Pate Brise) I had in the refrigerator. It was a perfect kind of evening to have a Pot Pie. It is easy to whip up, homey feeling, and make this lioness weather seam mild in my mind.
A pot pie is terrific way to use up some of those veggies you have laying around in the refrigerator. I have made it with any variety of combinations. In this one I used brown rice, but I have used barley in the past as well. Either the brown rice or the barley end up lending a great texture to the pot pie. For a veggie pot pie I have flavored the gravy with curry and also with herbs de province in the past, but tonight I was looking for a strait forward classic pot pie. Vegetarian of course, but you can make it with chicken so easily. Having a Veggie Pot Pie for dinner is uncanny. You will love it.
Veggie Pot Pie (serves 6 – 8 )
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
½ onion, chopped small
½ bell pepper. Chopped
¾ cup of peas (frozen is fine)
1 ½ tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of flour
2 cups of stock, veggie or chicken
3/4 cup of milk
½ tsp of dried sage
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 ½ cups of tofu, cubed (can use chicken if you like)
1 cup of cooked brown rice or barley
½ batch of Pate Brise
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Place a medium pot over high heat and melt your butter. Add in your onion, carrots, celery, bell pepper, and peas and stir well. Let it all simmer together about 5 minutes. Sprinkle your flour over your veggies and stir well again.
Next, pour your stock over your veggies stir well to break up any flour lumps that might have occurred. Sprinkle in your dried sage and bring to a simmer about 10 minutes. Add in your milk and season with your salt and pepper. Bring back to a simmer about 5 more minutes; your milk might bubble while boiling – so keep an eye on it.
Meanwhile, place your pate brise onto a well-floured surface. Also, get a 9 – 10 inch pie plate ready by placing it on a sheet pan for baking. Roll out your pate brise onto your floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness. Your pate brise should be about 12 inches round. You can trim the edges to be sure it is an even circle. Using a cookie cutter of any shape cut out a few wholes so that your pie filling can release its steam while cooking. (I like to cut out some extra pate brise to use for decoration)
Finally, pour the rice and the tofu into your pot with your veggies and stir well. Pour the mixture form the pot and into your pie plate. You want to come within ½ inch from the top of your pie plate. Gently place your pate brise over the top of your filled pie pan and crimp the edges any way you like. You can use the cut outs of your dough to decorate the top at this time. Place it in the oven on the sheet pan for about 20 minute, or until your filling is bubbling and your top is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes before serving.