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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Vegetarian Pot Pie

I recently fractured my left hand in a fall and am now typing with one hand.  A reader of the site, Jennifer, from Canada, has graciously offered the following guest post while my hand heals. Thanks, Jennifer! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe - it sounds great!  I had been thinking of trying to make a pot pie and didn't get around to it.  I think everyone in my family would enjoy this.

"I've been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 20 years and married to a confirmed meat-lover for the past 17. We usually cook vegetarian meals, with my husband grilling something for himself to go on the side or making a meaty version of the meal.

Our 10 year-old son and 6 year-old daughter both started life as vegetarians.  At about age 3, they were each told that if they ever wanted to try meat with their dad, that they could...but happily they have both chosen to stay veggie :-)

Less happily, both children are fairly picky eaters and so mealtimes tend to be a challenge. We have ongoing chats about proper nutrition and balanced diets: if you are going to be picky, you need to be aware of getting enough plants, protein, carbs and fats in your day.

We try to get the children in the kitchen when possible., and found the following recipe easy to make with young helpers, comforting on a chilly evening, and even better...enjoyed by all!"

Vegetarian Pot Pie

Adapted from "Kids Can Cook: Vegetarian Recipes" by Dorothy R. Bates

Makes 2 9-inch pies - one for now, one for the freezer

Step 1: Prepare the filling
3 medium potatoes - cut into chunks
3 carrots - thinly sliced

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until potatoes are tender. Drain, saving the liquid.

Step 2: Gravy
1/4 cup oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
Favorite veggies, chopped - zucchini, spinach - whatever you like.
2 cloves garlic, minced
1lb tofu, cut into bite-sized cubes OR 1 can chickpeas OR 1 can favorite beans
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
About 1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp oregano + 1 tsp thyme + 1 tsp pepper

You will also need 2 ready-made pie shells or make the equilivant amount of your favourite pastry recipe.

Warm oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook over low heat until softened. Add celery and other veggies and cook a few minutes more. Stir in tofu. Stir in soy sauce. Stir in flour and mix well.

Measure the potato liquid and add enough vegetable stock to make 4 cups. Pour into the pan and mix well. Mixture will be very liquidy at this stage. Stir in spices.

Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then add potatoes & carrots. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Step 3: Assembly & Baking
Divide mixture between 2 9-inch pie dishes. Top with a pie shell, trying your best to seal the pastry around the edge of the dish.

Bake on a cookie sheet (in case the pie bubbles over) at 350F for 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Filling will be blistering hot and somewhat liquidy when this comes out of the oven. Cool 10 minutes to allow filling to firm up before serving.

The photo is of the kids and I yesterday on a nature walk.  It's an interesting place - it's an old quarry right in the middle of our city that has been reclaimed and transformed into a wetlands/nature preserve.  As you can imagine, the boundaries of the preserve are very steep. Picture was taken after we had scrambled our way up to a lookout point at the top of one of the old quarry walls.  Takes a strong kid to make the climb :)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada