It’s a mouthful. The title. The dish. The meal. I couldn’t tell you the last time I had a pot pie before this one… vegetarian or not. I remember frozen, TV dinner style chicken pot pies every now and then as a kid. You know the ones. Those with the usual cast of characters: chicken, potatoes, carrots, peas, all swimming in an almost too salty gravy/broth.
To me, the best part about a chicken pot pie, or any pie for that matter, is the crust. I’ve been intimidated by homemade crust making (much in the same way biscuits used to immediately cause a deep panic within me just at the mention of their name). In the last few years, I’ve learned that the more you make these things, the less intimidating they get and the more fun the whole process is. It’s also easy to get a little creative when you remember the most useful trick I’ve found – keep your ingredients cold (inevitably, work quickly to make this happen).
This crust is flaky, light feeling, despite being filled with cheese and herbs. The flavor works nicely with the pot pie filling. I actually enjoyed this dish the second day more than the first. Overall, this is a great one-dish meal, perfect for a cold winter’s day like we’ve been having!
Double Herb and Cheese-Stuffed Crusted Veggie Pot Pie
Serves 8-10 people
For the crust:
1¼ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. unrefined cane sugar
¾ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. granulated garlic
¼ tsp. ground white pepper
2 sticks unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetarian shortening
½ cup ice cold water
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
For the filling:
1½ cups fingerling potatoes, cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch rounds
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, cut lengthwise then in half-moons ¼-inch thick
3 tbsp. fresh sage, minced
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
¾ tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground white pepper
1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups No-Chicken broth
¼ cup half and half
¾ cup frozen green peas
¾ cup extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (½-inch by ¼-inch)
1 cup chicken-style seitan, roughly chopped
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. of water
Prepare your dough: whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic and white pepper. Use a pastry cutter (or my favorite method, use a box grater) to cut in the butter. Add the shortening to the mixture. Use your fingers to rub the butter/shortening into the dry ingredients until everything resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the ice-cold water, using your hands to mix everything together into a ball of dough. If needed, add more ice water one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough stays together.
Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Split the dough into four even sized portions, rolling each into a ball then flattening into discs about one inch thick. Separately wrap each dough disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (up to 24).
Prepare the filling: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and carrots, boiling just until both are fork tender (12-15 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold water immediately.
Meanwhile, heat the two tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent (5-6 minutes). Add the zucchini, sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and mushrooms. Cook until the zucchini is slightly tender (3-4 minutes), occasionally stirring. Add the potatoes and carrots.
Sprinkle the flour into the mixture, using a spatula or wooden spoon to evenly coat all of the ingredients with the flour. Add the broth and half and half all at once, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to thicken up, gently stir in the peas, tofu cubes, and chopped seitan. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Keep on low heat, covered.
Preheat your oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a rectangular pan (no bigger than 9”x13” – mine was 11”x7”).
Remove the rounds of dough from your refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the discs until about ¼-inch thick, and about the same length as your baking dish. Sprinkle half of the sharp cheddar cheese on top of the dough, evenly.
Roll out a second round of dough equally as long and wide as the first. Place this dough on top of the cheese-topped dough.
Use a rolling pin to roll the layers together, until everything is about ¼-inch thick.
Use your hands to press the dough into your baking dish, including all the way up the sides. Pierce with a fork five or six times. Bake in your preheated oven until golden brown and crisp to the touch (20-ish minutes).
While the bottom crust is baking, roll out the remaining dough exactly like the first two.
Pour the filling into your bottom crust, then smooth it out evenly with a spatula.
Place the second rolled out, cheese-filled crust on top of the filling. Use your hands and work all the way around the pan, tucking the top pie crust to seal it into the first. Cut a couple slits in the top of your crust so that steam can escape. Brush the top with your beaten egg, then bake the pot pie for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is nicely golden brown and crisp.
Allow the veggie pot pie to sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.