Wednesday, February 11, 2009
It's fancy enough for a special occasion (think Valentine's Day, people), has a sweetness from the roasted vegetables that contrasts nicely with the crust, and should cost you in the neighborhood of thirteen dollars and fifty-cents to make. If you serve it to only two people, you will have six remaining servings, so for $3.45 or so, you have a very elegant main dish for you and your date. Or, for thirteen-ish dollars, you can serve your whole clan and a couple of friends, to boot.
Additionally, if you wanted to make the dish slightly more personal, you could create individual pot pies, and I leave that up to you.
Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pie (with Butternut Squash):
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound parsnips (approximately 4), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound turnips (approximately 3 medium), peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (to the best of your ability)
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled, and - yes, you know it by now - cut into 1/2-inch cubes
one head of garlic, peeled down to the last layer of skin, leaving that last layer of skin intact, and the top 1/4-inch of the head removed to expose the tops of the cloves within
1 teaspoon thyme
For the gravy:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, well-cleaned and cut into 1/4-inch slices across the grain. You do need to be careful in your cleaning of leeks - dirt can be trapped in the layers, so you should first cut them in half down the middle of the stalk, soak them in water, and then agitate them to loosen the dirt. I like the word agitate, and don't often get to use it in a pleasant context, so there we go. Score one for me and agitate. Another way to phrase it is that you should vigorously move the leeks around in the water (to loosen the dirt).
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon thyme
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine that is meant to be drunk by humans. Do not destroy the loveliness of the dish by using anything labeled "cooking wine". You should be able to find a bottle of white wine to use for cooking for five dollars or under.
4 cups vegetable broth (be sure to check the sodium content before you buy. You don't want the gravy to taste like salt-water, after all.)
Savory Pie Crust (click on any one of these highlighted words to be directed to the recipe for Savory Pie Crust)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss the parsnips, turnips, carrots, and butternut squash with the olive oil to coat. Transfer to a large baking sheet or roasting pan. Sprinkle the salt, pepper, and thyme over top. Wrap the head of garlic in aluminum foil, drizzle olive oil over the cut side, salt and pepper, and seal it in the foil. Roast the vegetables and garlic in the oven on the middle rack until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown on the edges, approximately 45 minutes.
While the vegetables roast, you can make the Savory Pie Crust and the gravy. I would start with the Savory Pie Crust as it needs to spend a half-hour in the refrigerator prior to being rolled out. Once that is done, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and leeks and saute until they are softened and translucent, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mustard and thyme, stir to combine and cook, stirring frequently, for one minute. Add the flour and mix well. Continue to stir frequently. In this step, you are trying to cook the uncooked flour taste out of the flour - which sounds slightly like a tongue-twister. You will begin to see flour sticking to the bottom of the pan, this is desirable as it will provide additional flavor to the gravy, but be careful not to let the flour burn. The flour-cooking process should take approximately 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, stir to combine, and scrape any of the browned flour bits off of the bottom of the pot. Add the broth - and, yes, stir, that's right - then allow gravy to simmer for 25-30 minutes until it is reduced by approximately one-fourth.
Once the vegetables are done roasting, maintain oven heat of 375 degrees.
Transfer the vegetables and roasted garlic to a 13x9 lasagna pan or roasting pan, and cover with the gravy, leaving an inch or so between the top of the liquid and the top of the pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the Savory Pie Crust into a rectangle that is approximately 15x11. This does not have to be exact, you just need to have enough extra dough with which to work such that you are able to cover the vegetables and gravy and tuck them in. At least, tucking them in is how I like to look at the process of covering them with pie dough. You want to gently press the dough down into the edges of the pan without causing the filling to jump out, and then tuck any additional dough over itself to create a rolled edge. Make six one-inch slices into the pie dough with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape as the pie cooks. If you have any additional dough, perhaps you'd like to make some root vegetable dough illustrations to adhere to the top of your pie. Or not.
You may have forgotten this step from the Savory Pie Crust recipe, so I will remind you: combine an egg yolk and one tablespoon of milk in a bowl and brush over the top of the crust to give it a nice, shiny finished appearance once baked.
Place the lasagna or roasting pan on a foil-lined baking sheet to avoid messy oven clean-up tomorrow, and bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes, or until the Savory Pie Crust is golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then dig in. Serve it forth, and discover that your meat-and-potatoes mate (friend, spouse, or otherwise), in fact, is able to eat and enjoy - complete with exclamations of Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pie's greatness - an entirely meat-free meal and will also ask to have some packed for his (her, or otherwise) lunch tomorrow.
Yield: definitely 8 servings. If this yields eight servings in my house, it will most definitely do so in yours. We are not light eaters over here. Alternately, you could make individual pies, or you could also forgo Savory Pie Crust altogether and serve this as a Roasted Vegetable Stew. Just be sure to put the vegetables into the gravy before serving if that's the case. It would be confusing to the others if there were no roasted vegetables in the stew.
Dinner tonight: YAY us - YAY leftover Roasted Root Vegetable Pot Pie. I am going to revisit the price breakdown as I altered my plan from when I wrote the breakdown on Sunday prior to actually making the pie. So here goes: Estimated cost for two: $3.45. We used around a pound each of the following veggies: parsnip, $1.99; turnip, 79-cents; carrot, 80-cents; butternut squash, 80-cents. I added roasted garlic, which cost 50-cents for one head. The oil for the vegetable portion of the recipe costs no more than 33-cents (Whole Foods store brand at $7.99 for 67 tablespoons), and the thyme, we'll call 5-cents. The gravy includes one yellow onion, weighing approximately 1/2 pound, which at 65-cents per pound is 33-cents. The leek cost 95-cents. The wine was $5.00 for a bottle of wine meant to be drunk by humans, and we used one cup, which is one-third of a 750ml bottle, so that is $1.67. The broth was Whole Foods store brand vegetable broth which costs $2.19 for 4 cups. The flour cost around 6-cents, the olive oil for the gravy was also around 22-cents, and the butter 17-cents. The mustard was around 40-cents, and the thyme 15-cents. The Savory Pie Crust costs $2.40 to make from scratch. It is $13.80 for eight servings, so for $1.72 and one-half cent, you've got yourself a pretty scrumptious meal, I have to say. I know we're looking forward to the leftovers at my house (could you not tell by the "YAY" and "YAY"?). And it could very well show up again here on Valentine's Day. Freshly made, of course. No leftovers allowed on V-day!