Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Vegetable Pot Pie for Barefoot Bloggers. (Guess What? It's My Pick!)

Although I was excited that it was my turn to pick the second Barefoot Bloggers recipe for October, I gotta tell you, there was a lot of stress and pressure in picking the right recipe. First off we have had great choices so far in the recipes that have been selected by my fellow Barefoot Bloggers and who wants to be the one that screws that up by picking a bad recipe?! (Not me!) Secondly I wanted a recipe that was veggie friendly, for my vegetarian BB friends and one that would allow everyone to substitute ingredients a bit to get what they liked. Then there was the fact that I wanted something I might not normally do, that would challenge me but still be doable. Finally I wanted something that made it feel like Fall has arrived (its a little harder to get that feeling here in Hawaii). Going through and putting tabs in my Ina books, her recipe for Vegetable Pot Pie from Barefoot Contessa Parties! (pg 255) was my first pick but being the bundle of insecurities I am, I need some reinforcement so I called on my buddy Natashya from Living In The Kitchen With Puppies. I sent her a list of my top choices and Vegetable Pot Pie came back as the one on the list she most wanted to make too (I knew I liked this girl!) and so my recipe pick was selected. (BTW, I told her if the recipe was good and people liked it, I would give her advisor credit and if the recipe sucked or people hated it I would not mention her role in choosing it; so if for some odd reason you hated this recipe, forget what I said, Natashya had nothing to do with it!)

I had never made pie crust before because I find it so intimidating, so the fear factor was high. In order to make it a bit easier, I bought a canvass pastry mat that hooks on my counter for about $20--so much much better than the flexible cutting board I used with the puff pastry. I also bought some little cookie cutters to decorate the crust with cutouts--a bare foot for Ina, a maple leaf for Natashya and a fall leaf to get into the spirit of the season.

I wanted to stick to the basic premise of the recipe but I also wanted a little less fat so I cut the butter and cream in the sauce down by half. I debated back and forth on the Pernod but priced it at $26.99 at the grocery store and $34.99 for the same jumbo bottle at the liquor store. Sorry Ina, but no Pernod--I used a bit of white wine instead. The only butternut squash I saw was huge so I omitted that and added a bit more potato, the oyster mushrooms from my CSA box and some frozen peas. Everything else stayed the same.

The recipe is also on Food here.
Vegetable Pot Pie
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties
Serves 4
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod
pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Notes/Results: I made crust and it turned out! Yippee! The pastry mat really made rolling the crust much easier than I thought it would be. I made the dough first and put in the refrigerator before starting the filling and that was helpful in the timing. Although this recipe looks involved, it actually is not bad at all. It does take a bit of time to get everything together but the results are worth it. Even removing 1/2 the butter and cream, it was delicious and tasted rich and decadent. The flavor was good and the color from the saffron was beautiful. I made one large pie and two minis and took the minis to some friends at work who loved it. Although it is involved enough that I wouldn't make it very frequently, I would make this recipe again and I would also attempt crust again so mission accomplished!
You can check out the other Barefoot Bloggers Pot Pies here and if you love Ina like we do and want to make and post her recipes the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month join us here. Thanks again Natashya for your friendship and advice--this pie is for you!


Johanna said...

You can substitute pernod for ouzo if that is cheaper. Or add aniseed as a flavouring together with your wine

K and S said... now you can make apple pie, pumpkin pie....

Natashya said...

Your pies look so fantastic!!!
Great colour, shape, details, and great pictures.
Your pastry mat looks like a wonderful investment, and I love your little cutters.
Thank you so much for your kind words, you have really made my day! (Today of all days!)

Summer said...

Looks delicious! The crust doesn't look like it was made by a beginner and the little cookie cutters are adorable. Thanks for choosing a great recipe!

Audrey said...

Deb (and Natashya), this was such a great choice! I was looking forward to it and I wasn't disappointed Your filling looks the way mine was supposed to look (nice and creamy)...and your little barefoot "logo" is so cute. I'm sure Ina wishes she had thought of that.

Megan said...

I loved this choice! And I love the barefoot cookie cutter. So cute!!! Thanks for the great pick.

Andrea said...

Your pot pie looks just perfect Deb! I really love the details with the cute little cut outs. I actually cut out "BB" and was going to put it on there but let the kids sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar instead. Your filling looks exactly like mine did :) I bet the mushrooms were great in this. Thank you (and Natashya for her help) for a wonderful pick! This was just the kind of recipe I would probably have book marked as wanting to try but never got around to. Oh, almost forgot your pie crust, wow! No one would have ever guessed that was your first, it's beautiful!

Candy said...

Deb-Yours looks delicious! I'm glad you chose the recipe because even though I didn't care for all the onions it will be a great go to recipe for other types of pot pies. Thanks!

Laura said...

OMG - that little footprint on your pie is adorable!!! Thanks for choosing a truly fantastic recipe - my family and I enjoyed it very much and I never would have picked this on my own.

Eri-chan said...

Your pies are so pretty! And they actually LOOK like pies! I'm jealous :-p

I love the little footprint cookie cutter. I need to start developing a collection of itsy bitsy cookie cutters I think, because everytime I see a new one I feel like I have to have it. I just love them.

Peggy said...

When you saw my blog this morning my pie picture was not even on there. I am having blog issues today! At any rate, your pies put mine to shame. My crust is not pretty and yours is just beautiful. Thanks for choosing this. I really loved it.

Kirsten said...

Great choice! I haven't made mine yet, but am looking forward to it this weekend. Love your dough cutters! Too cute.

Veronica said...

Your pies look fabulous-I like the touch of using cutouts on top. I have learned I am not good with pie edges are so messy yours look like you pulled a pot pie out of a box!

Cathy said...

Thank you for picking this one, Deb (and thank you, Natashya!) -- what a perfect choice! You've kept the streak of wonderful BB dishes alive (although I can only imagine the pressure, even though it will probably be years before it's my turn to pick!) Congratulations on a fabulous job with the pastry! Your cookie cutters are so fun and add such a special touch to your crusts. Your filling looks perfect, too!

chocolatechic said...

Great pick.

I added peas too.

Anne said...

You did awesome Deb! The recipe was perfect and your pie looks amazing- the little cut outs are too cute, too!

Mandy said...

I love love love your barefoot crust additions. They look adorable! You picked a great recipe, mine was very successful with the exception of the pastry. I ended up using canned biscuits because the pastry was too dry to roll out. Regardless, I loved it. Great job!

McKenzie said...

Oh my gosh - those pastry cut outs are too cute! Thanks for choosing such a delicious recipe (especially one I might not have taken time to make otherwise)!

Esi said...

Deb - your little feet cutouts are so totally adorable and I think for having a fear of pie crust, it turned out beautifully. Thanks for "hosting" this week :)

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Deb, I love that bare foot cookie cutter. I've got to get me one of those. It's so cute. You did an excellent job on the pastry.

Cynthia's Blog said...

Nice selection, I liked the fennel. I can see you took this challenge seriously

1freshstart said...

Deb. You are genius! I LOVE the bit about Natashya... she's such a sweetheart! Where on earth did you find a barefoot cookiecutter! And a maple leaf! You're too much.

Jilla B said...

Love your "barefoot" cutout!

ARLENE said...

That looks yummy! Coincidentally, I just finished my draft for the chicken potpie I made on Monday. I used a recipe from Tyler's Ultimate. He didn't make his own pastry. Ina's (yours now, lol)looks soooooo good.

Jessie said...

your pies look so yummy. Love the little barefoot decoration!

Bellini Valli said...

Exscellent job with the pastry. I love trhe little bare feet as perfect is that:D Thanks for choosing this challenging recipe:D

briannalee said...

Your pies look so fantastic :) And the cutouts are adorable!

Prudy said...

Oh hooray! They look so good. I honestly blame you for me turning mine into a southwest version. It really was inspired by all the Mexican food you've had on your blog lately. Congrats on your pie crust!

Meryl said...

How smart with the pastry mat--I always have trouble getting mine the right size!

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for a yummy pick. I am posting tomorrow since I was a little late on making this one. I really liked it! Yours look delish!

Karen said...

i love the little barefoot cutouts, that is too cute! I just made this for dinner tonight (sorry, i'm always a little late in posting) and it was AWESOME! Thanks for the great pick! :)

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

Hi Deb! I was finalyl able to make the pot pie today (with a few modifications) and it was exceptional! thanks for the pick and I'm going to add you to my blog list. You're so lucky to live in Hawaii. All of my mom's side of the family lives there and I spent many years there. Hawaii is considered our second home state!

madebymel said...

Thank you for picking such a great recipe! It was perfect.