Yield: 1 deep dish 8 or 9″ pot pie (6 servings)
The original recipe for this can’t-get-enough savory pot pie hailed from PETA, and it is a never-fail crowd-pleaser. I have served it to omnivorous men, grandmothers, and vegetarian teens with similarly enthusiastic results.
A few years ago, a newspaper photographer at my home on assignment for a vegan cooking story asked if he could hire me to make one for the vegan guests at his casual outdoor wedding, which I did. But almost didn’t.
He had asked me a fairly long time in advance and I marked it on my calendar, but forgot about it. The Saturday of the wedding, I was in the gym doing leg curls facing a mirror when it literally hit me like a flash of light. I think my eyes literally bugged out as I went into fight or flight mode. If I left that moment and absolutely nothing went wrong, I would just barely have time to make the pie and deliver it to a neighboring town.
So, I raced out of there, flew into the grocery story because I knew the ingredients by heart, dashed home, made the pie, dressed and “Mapquested” the directions to his home (before GPS) while the pie baked, burned myself transferring it to the car, sailed down the interstate, and arrived trying to act nonchalant with my heart pounding, setting it down in perfect time.
Despite that bad memory, I make this pie whenever I need a man/crowd pleaser. My nextdoor neighbor, Sonny, my go-to handyman since Joe passed away, absolutely loves it. Since he won’t take cash for helping me out, except as reimbursement for money actually spent, I frequently pay him in scrumptious food, including this dish which he and his middle school daughter love, omniovores that they are.
Originally, I made this dish exactly according to the recipe and loved it every time. But, because I am such a fan of sage and thyme with anything that is supposed to evoke “chicken,” I started adding a bit of those herbs along with frozen potatoes instead of canned ones, as I’m not a huge fan of canned anything unless it is beans or hearts of palm.
I trust you will love my version as much as everyone else and that it will become a staple in your home.
Note: you can use this basic method with any thick filling. Wanting to do something nice for a neighbor whose granddaughter had just had surgery, I used a thick and spicy leftover bisque-type bean and “sausage” soup as the filling and it was a huge hit.
1 box Pepperidge farm puff pastry, thawed for 30 minutes on counter
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup oil
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or stock
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Approximately 1 1/2 cups frozen potatoes, cut into bite size pieces ( have even used sweet potatoes; if you can’t find frozen potatoes, use 1-15.5 ounce can of sliced potatoes, drained)
1-16 ounce package (1 1/2 cups) frozen mixed vegetables, e.g. corn kernels, peas, diced carrots, green beans, etc.
1/2 pound seitan or “chicken” substitute, cut into bite size pieces
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Press one sheet of thawed puff pastry into bottom and up sides of deep dish pie pan. Because it is square, it won’t cover sides completely, but no worries. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until puffed and just beginning to turn golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet, combine the nutritional yeast and flour with a whisk and stir constantly over medium heat until fragrant and lightly toasted. Whisk in the oil to make a rew. Raise the temperature to medium-high and then slowly whisk in the broth, garlic garlic powder, sage, thyme, and pepper. Stir in the frozen vegetables, potatoes, and seitan or “chicken” substitute and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until heated through.
When ready, remove the pie pan from the oven with the puffed bottom crust. Mound the filling mixture on top, allowing the crust to deflate. Cut functional or decorative “vents” in the second sheet of puff pastry and gently lay over the surface of the filling, tucking under corners and pressing the dough against the bottom crust and exposed pan to seal, being careful not to burn your self.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the top pastry crust is pugged and golden. Let pie rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.