Just a week ago I was denying the fact that summer was coming to an end. I was determined to enjoy the most sunshine and blue skies possible. I love summer. It's my favorite season. I love tank tops and sundresses, the feeling the sunshine on my shoulders, and wearing less make-up so my freckles can shine through.
Then it happened. Yesterday, as I was on my lunch break, it happened. A drop of rain hit my windshield. Then another. And another! And just like that, my brain went into fall mode. "Must. Have. Comfort. Food." I began daydreaming of what I could make for dinner that would satisfy my urge to create in the kitchen, and also satisfy my husband's 12-year-old-I-only-eat-yummy-foods palate. Not to mention, I wouldn't be home until about 6pm, and it needed to be on the table by 8pm or it would be a no-go.
As soon as I got off work, I called him. "Hey! What do you think about pot pie for dinner?" And he immediately said, "Mmmmm." And I knew what he was thinking. Maybe I could swing by Fox Coffee House and pick up a whole Vegan Pot Pie on my way home from work. And it's true, they have AMAZING vegan Pot Pie, and if you call in advance, you can pick up a whole one to go. But I wanted to cook! To turn on the oven. I mean it's under 80 degrees (if only by a few) and that means it's time to get cozy in the kitchen, right?
To my surprise, Dan offered up an amazing idea. "Buy everything in cans...even the potatoes...so you won't be cooking all night." Boom. Brilliant. Mad at myself for not thinking of it first. So I stopped by the market on the way home and picked up a few things. I went to Ralphs (Kroger in other parts of the country) and found everything I needed. Isn't it so great that options like Morningstar Farms Vegan Chicken Strips are available at main stream grocery stores now?
Enough chit-chat. Let's get to cookin'!
Easy Pea-sy Vegan Chicken Pot Pie
This recipe can be made in parts...if you don't have the time to do it all at once. You can make the filling ahead of time, then assemble and bake the pot pies the next day. Just as a side note, you can also use this filling all on its own as a hearty stew. A big bowl of this, while curled up in the corner of the couch, under a snuggly blanket just might be my idea of heaven.
*For this recipe I used 5-inch pie tins. You can use whatever size you want. You can even make one huge casserole sized pot-pie. The directions are still the same, you will just have a different yield depending on the size baking dish you use. The cook times given here are based on 5-inch pies. Larger pies may require slighly longer cook times. Just look for that puff pastry to be golden brown and crispy, then you will know it's done!
I am also trying to cut back a little bit on food spending, so I was happy to report that this recipe, which makes enough for eight 5-inch pot pies*, rolled in at a total cost of right around $25, or about $3.15 per pie. And believe me when I tell you each pie is definitely big enough for a meal!
2 (10-ounce) packages of vegan puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms is accidentally vegan!), thawed according to package directions
3 ounces vegan butter (about 1/3 cup) or oil
3 ounces all-purpose flour (just under 3/4 cup)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 (15-ounce) cans white potatoes, rinsed and cubed
1 (15-ounce) can green peas, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can carrots, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, drained and rinsed
1 (10-ounce) package of Morningstar Farm's Meal Starters Chick'n Strips (or any other of your favorite vegan chicken substitutes...and to be honest, you could totally leave this out and it would still be fucking delicious.)
additional melted butter for brushing
To Make the Gravy
While your puff pastry is thawing, you can make the gravy and filling.
In a large pot (if you don't have a large pot, you can use a smaller one, just know that you will need to transfer the gravy to a larger bowl once you add in the fillings) add butter or oil and heat over medium heat.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir vigorously until all of the flour is absorbed into the butter or oil and forms a thick golden paste. Continue to cook, constantly stirring, and turning until it is dry and kind of looks like play-doh. About 5 minutes.
Slowly stir in the vegetable broth and continue to stir. Stir in the parsley and pepper and continue to cook until thickened.
Remove from heat.
To Make the Filling
If your pot is large enough, you can dump all the ingredients (potatoes, peas, carrots, corn and Chik'n) right into the pot and stir. If not, pour all of the ingredients into a large bowl and carefully pour the gravy into the bowl, then stir to combine.
Assemble Your Pot Pies
You will need two layers of puff pastry for each pot pie. One for the bottom, to line your dish, and one for the top to create a buttery flaky crust.
Line each of your pie tins, baking dishes, or ramekins with puff pastry dough, using your fingers to shape it and press it into place. Luckily, puff pastry is quite forgiving and you don't have to be too gentle with it. If you tear it, don't worry, just make a patch with another small piece and you will be good to go.
Ladle in the filling until the dish is full. It can be really full! Pile it in there so you don't end up with wimpy pot pies!
Next place another layer of dough on top and pinch together the edges to seal. I use the tines of a fork to do this.
Poke a venting slit in the top.
Brush the tops with melted butter.
Bake to Golden Perfection
Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C, or Gas Mark 5).
Place your pot pies on a baking sheet...just in case some of that filling does decide to spill over.
Bake for 15 minutes, then crank up the heat to 400 F (204 C, or Gas Mark 6) and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.
Remove from oven and allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: 8 (5-inch) pot pies