Pot Pies

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I've had individual pot pies on my agenda for weeks.  Each week, I put them off for one more week.  The truth is, I've never made a pie crust, and I was deathly afraid.  I've done some research, and come up with a fool proof plan but I couldn't shake the gooey, doughy mess that haunts many a would be baker.  In then end, I weighed my options.  Every store bought brand I've found had either trans fat or lard.  I needed to tackle the elusive pie crust. It turned out flaky and delicious.  Here are some observations that I made during my pot pie forray:

Pie Crust:  From what I gathered, the biggest key to pie crust preparation is temperature.  I kept everything cold.  I chilled the flour, mixing bowl and the shortening in the freezer. I kept the water ice cold and when the dough balls weren't in use, they were left in the fridge.  I even froze my marble rolling pin.  In fact, it stayed in the freezer at least a month.  Like I said, I'm chicken. 

Chana Dal:  The chana dal is a small relative of the chickpea that's been dried and split.  It holds its shape better than lentils or split peas and tastes like a chickpea.  They need to be soaked and will double in volume after a couple of hours.  You could substitute yellow split peas or even lentils.

Scale:  This recipe was designed for individual pie dishes that were 6 inches in diameter (for the crust) and 1.5 cups in volume (filling).  You can scale the filling and crust to fit the volume and size of your dishes.  Also, the recipe has lots of excess dough.  This makes the dough more forgiving because you can discard any boo boos, especially if you can't roll dough into a circle.

Pot Pie

Individual Pot Pies
4 cups all purpose flour, chilled
1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening, chilled
1 1/2 tsp salt
8-12 tbs ice water

1/2 cup chana dal or yellow split peas, soaked for 2-3 hours
3 tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup soy milk
1 medium potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup peas
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp asafoetida (optional)
2 tbs nutritional yeast

For the Crust: 
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and mix with the salt.  Add the shortening and mix with your fingers until the dough forms pea sized, or smaller, crumbs.  Add the water, a tablespoon at a time and mix together with your fingers.  You've added enough flour when the dough binds together, but is not wet.  Work the dough only as necessary, do not kneed.  Form into four balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until needed.

For the Filling:
Soak the chana dal in t cups water for at least a couple hours.  Drain, rinse and reserve.\  Melt the margarine in a medium sauce pan.  Add the onions and celery and saute until the onion is soft.  Add the garlic, stir once and add the flour.  Stir constantly for a couple minutes and slowly add the vegetable broth and soy milk.  Stir to incorporate the flour into the broth.  Add the diced veggies, peas and spices.  Bring to just to a boil and remove from heat.

To Assemble:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Ladle the filling into four oven-save bowls.  working one at a time, remove the plastic wrap from each dough ball.  Place the ball onto a lightly floured surface and press down with the palm of your hand.  flour the top of the dough and roll the dough into a circle.  I made much larger circles than necessary and I use the term circle very loosely.  Using a spatula, fold the dough in half, then place over the bowl.  Unfold and pull or cut off the excess dough.  Crimp the edges.  Continue with the remaining bowls.

Place the bowls in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Remove and let the pies set for a few minutes and serve.  Makes 4 individual pies.

4 Servings:  1060 calories (57g fat, 114g carbs, 23g protein).

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1 Responses to Pot Pies

  1. That looks AWESOME. I love pot pies, but I've only had them once or twice since going veg. Thanks for sharing!


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