Friday, December 28, 2007

Ina Garten's Vegetable Pot Pie

L, Argos
and I have had a blissful week of vacation, in which we've had good, relaxing fun with friends and family, slept ridiculously late, and experimented with new dishes.

I've been itching to try recipes that are a bit more time-consuming, or at least more unusual, than our regular weekday fare, and L's mom gave me inspiration in the form of a copy of Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Parties! cookbook for Christmas. I love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks- her recipes taste fabulous, and they always come out beautifully on the first try.

Last night, we tackled Ina's recipe for Vegetable Pot Pie. We both grew up eating very little in the way of classic American dishes, and neither of us have tried pot pie in any form, so I was really intrigued by this recipe.

My original idea was to make something meatless and chock full of nutritious vegetables, since we've been eating so much rich holiday food lately; however, I soon discovered that this pot pie contains a stunning amount of butter, so the idea that we were making something really healthy quickly went out the window. I did feel a bit better about everything when I realised that we'd added enough vegetables to at least triple the recipe- we ended up with one giant pot pie that completely filled our 6 3/4 quart Le Creuset wide dutch oven, leaving just enough room for the thick crust (eek!).

As we used only what we have on hand from our winter farm share, we omitted the asparagus and increased the amounts of all other vegetables in the original recipe to somewhere between 2-3 cups each. To that, we added approximately 2-3 cups each sliced leeks and roughly chopped celeriac, rutabagas, and parsnips. I doubled all sauce ingredients except the butter, and I also forgot to add the cream, but it worked out beautifully and was rich enough without, so I think I'll omit the cream and decrease the butter in the sauce from now on.

Since we made one large pot pie, I baked it for an hour and 20 minutes, covering the crust halfway through baking (for about 20 minutes total) with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. A cookie sheet, placed under the oven rack to catch errant sauce drips, helped tremendously with cleanup.

While this vegetable pot pie is time consuming (especially in the vegetable prep department) and rich enough that I wouldn't make it every weekend, we were both very pleased with the results. The vegetables were tender without being mushy, and I was happy to discover that they retained their distinct textures and flavours, despite being cooked together for so long. The sauce was wonderfully thick, velvety and satisfyingly savoury without being overly floury, and the pastry crust was a beautiful golden brown on top, airy and tender underneath, and thick enough to provide a foil for the tender vegetables.

Overall, we both agreed that this was a success- a very comforting and satisfying winter dish!


-w said...

la petite gourmande,
I just happened upon your blog via the "next blog" button at the top of the page. I'm delighted to see your passion for food. I grew up in a family of cajun cooks and am always eager to try new things. To further broaden my pallet, my family moved to Holland (the country not the town MI) when I was just three. The Dutch are not known to be good cooks, but there is such a large population of immigrants that we ended up having the best food from all around the world.

"We both grew up eating very little in the way of classic American dishes"

I have to tell you, American food definitely gets better the further south you go. I'm, of course, partial to anything cajun, but I currently reside in Nashville, TN. As with any city, you have to know where to look to find the good food, but much of it is amazing!

la petite gourmande said...

Thanks so much for your comments! I always love to hear from people who are also crazy about food. :)

It's funny that you mention Southern and cajun food- I agree with you 100%! I think that my very favourite American cuisines have got to be New England seafood and absolutely anything cajun.

I grew up in Texas, but spent nearly all vacations with my mom's family in New England. My Czech dad, who is an amazing cook, fell in love with cajun food early on, so I've been lucky enough to experience many good cajun meals. I guess I grew up eating more good American food than I'd realised!

I envy you... there are just a few places around here where you can get really good Southern and cajun food!