Thursday, October 6, 2011
"Chicken" Pot Pie
My belief that any foodstuff is better when encased in pastry is well documented; hence my abiding love for the pot pie. There's something wonderfully homey about a ginormous casserole on a chilly evening, and this quintessential comfort food seemed appropriate this week, since the dreaded First F$#%ing Cold of the Season has officially arrived. In fact, as I type this, my heroic partner is bustling about in the kitchen making soup, noochy kale, and - YES! - biscuits, all while delivering medicinal draughts of hot gin and lemonade. (If it's good enough for Dickens, it's good enough for me.)
Anyway, I made this pie on the weekend, and it provided enough food to sustain our hungry household for several days: "indeed, as Mrs. Cratchit said with great delight...they hadn't ate it all at last!" On the whole, this is a go-to recipe for when you're craving a plateful of that "Mummy loves you" feeling - a feeling exacerbated by the addition of mashed potatoes or champ, glazed carrots, and/or sautéed green beans. (Would Mummy lie to you? About food? Exactly.)
"Chicken" Pot Pie
~ 3 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 cup raw cashews
~ 1 tbsp. No Chicken bouillon
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 2 cups chopped onion
~ 1 cup sliced carrots
~ 1/2 cup diced celery
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each: sage, marjoram, thyme, parsley
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ 3 cups sliced mushrooms
~ 1.5 cups cubed vegan "chicken" (Gardein, TJ's, soy curls, seitan, etc.)
~ 3/4 cup frozen peas
~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit, and coat a 9 x 13" casserole with cooking spray.
~ Combine the soy milk and the bouillon and heat to nearly boiling; add the cashews and soak for at least an hour (the longer the better). When the cashews are nice and soft, puree the mixture in a food processor and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onions, celery, and carrot over medium heat for 5 minutes.
~ Add the garlic, dried seasonings, mushrooms, and seitan, and cook about 5-7 minutes more, stirring frequently to make sure things don't stick.
~ Stir in the pureed cashew mixture and the peas, cook another minute or two, and transfer to your prepared casserole.
~ Set aside to cool while you make...
~ 2 cups all-purpose flour
~ 1/2 cup cold vegan margarine or shortening (I use a frozen stick of Earth Balance)
~ 8-12 tbsps. ice water
~ Put the flour in a mixing bowl, and cut or grate in the cold margarine or shortening. Mix with your fingers until you get a texture like course crumbs.
~ Add 8 tbsps. of the ice water and mix; add as much additional water as necessary to make a rough, slightly sticky dough.
~ Form the dough into a ball, then turn it out onto a floured board, and use a rolling pin to shape it fit your casserole dish. Carefully transfer the pastry on top of the filling, crimp around the edges to seal, and poke a few holes in the top with a fork.
~ Brush the top with a little plain, unsweetened soy milk, and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown.
~ Allow to sit briefly before serving.