Note: apologies for the less than awesome photography as of late. My camera is having some problems, which is frustrating and inspiring at the same time. Inspiring to save save save and buy the camera of my dreams… until then, please pardon the grainy, slightly out-of-focus photography.
I grew up on pot pies that featured boneless skinless chicken breasts, frozen mixed veggies and jarred chicken gravy all tucked within a pre-made pie crust. No offense Mom, but it was not one of my favorite meals and required a healthy slathering of ketchup and a large glass of milk to wash it all down. Since childhood I have politely eaten numerous other pot pies, meaty and vegetarian, and found every one far from delightful.
Bird, on the other hand, is passionate about pot pies so I figured I could put my food snobbery aside for a night and help him prepare one of his favorite comfort foods.
I never expected this dinner to be blog-worthy. Gosh was I wrong! What we ended up with were two pies (one with meat, one with beans) that were just perfectly spiced, rich and creamy and full of nutritional awesomeness. Topped with sweet potatoes instead of a traditional pie crust, the pies were also lower in fat and brimming with vitamin F (fiber).
Unfortunately we didn’t really measure as we went but I think this dinner can be easily recreated as pot pies really are just a way to use up left overs, right? So here we go! This dinner guideline will create two very large pot pies. If you just want one, half the ingredients and the recipe for the Classic Fondue.
FIRST: peel and chop a mess of garnet yams. We had three of the largest yams I have ever seen. Boil the yams until they are tender and mash with butter (we used Earth Balance buttery spread), salt and pepper. Set your potatoes aside.
SECOND: Cut up 2 pounds of chicken thighs and cook in a skillet with some olive oil. Set the chicken aside.
THIRD: Measure out two to three cups of cannellini beans. Also known as white kidney beans, cannellini beans have a surprisingly pleasant mild and creamy flavor. I cooked a large amount of dried cannellini beans several weeks ago and popped them in the freezer for later use. If you don’t have an arsenal of pre cooked beans in your freezer or the time to cook up dried beans, use two cans of white beans of your choice.
FOURTH: Chop the following: 1.5 videllia onions, 5 or 6 cloves of very fresh garlic and one fennel bulb. Saute the onions in olive oil till translucent (about 7 minutes) then add the garlic and fennel and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Add a generous portion (I measured two palmfuls) of Herbs de Provence. Remove from heat and set aside.
FIFTH: Chop up a generous portion of fresh broccoli and thaw several cups of frozen green peas. Exact amounts are up to you.
SIXTH: (Sheesh, this seems like a lot more work than it was…) Make the sauce. This is where the real pie magic happens. I found this vegan fondu sauce in the UnCheese Cookbook and it is a dead ringer for the real thing.
To make the sauce combine the following in a blender:
- 2 cups of white wine that has simmered for 5 minutes to cook off the alcohol
- 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup sesame tahini
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard (I used some awesome tarragon mustard)
- pinch of white pepper and nutmeg