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 Network.com here.
Vegetable Pot Pie
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties
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!