Thursday, September 25, 2008

the only pot pie in my eyes

I thought about titling this entry "oh great, it's going to be one of those evenings..." but I decided to try to start out on a more posi note. No one wants to hear about how everything I touch today gets broken, which puts fear in my heart when the time comes for dinner making... oh wait, I guess you just did. Well, anyway. Let's try again:

Generally, I would not reccommend that anyone actually eat half a pie. But the rules get changed for the Seitan and Veggie Pot Pie I made last night. This is not my first pie venture, but it is my first pot pie venture. I pretty much made the recipe up on my own, but I borrowed a gravy technique simply for measurements from Alternative Outfitters. But I changed it some, so I'll go ahead and post the recipe here for you. It's fall, it's pot pie and soup and bread and casserole season. So get ready for a lot of that from me, because I am all about warm, yummy dinners on cool fall days. Michael calls it putting on our 'winterfat'. We vegans need to bulk up some for those cold as fuck winter months. Well, maybe I don't need to bulk up, but he does, and I'm happy to oblige and just worry about it later (ugh Spring weight loss season, how I hate you). So anyway, here's what my pie looked like out of the oven.
ok, i know it's kind of ugly. ignore that. we had crust issues.

Well, by the time came to put on the top crust, I was totally over crustmaking and rolling, and I mostly blame that on the fact that I used whole wheat flour (not pastry flour). I was out of AP, and whole wheat pastry flour is so expensive here that I tend to get frugal and not use it when I should. So... use pastry flour if you go the WW route. Or regular AP would of course be fine, but I was trying to cancel out all the fat in the crust with at least a healthy carb. The problem is that it doesn't stick to itself and just wants to flake...well...anyway. It was frustrating, and looks ugly as crap, but it tasted good (if maybe a little grainy, but that didn't bother me ONE BIT).

Also, for my seitan, I used the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, but I steamed it for 40 minutes intstead of simmering it like the recipe says. I find that simmering it in broth makes it uber salty, and simmering in general makes seitan spongey. Steaming makes it nice and firm, and the flavors you put in the seitan are the flavors you get when you eat it. So... that's just my two cents. For this recipe, I divided the seitan into 4 cutlets before steaming, and used one of them for the pie. It was about the size of my hand (so..what, like 5"x3"x1"). I'm just telling you all this so you know how much to use in the pie, because you can't use too much because it just won't all fit, unfortunately. Ok, on to the recipe.

Seitan and Veggie Pot Pie

for the crust:
5 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening (or room temp vegan butter)
6-7 Tbsp water

for the gravy:
1/3 cup vegan butter (i used earth balance)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened soymilk
1 3/4 cup water
1 veggie bouillon cube
1 tsp poultry seasoning (i used one that was heavy on the sage..mmm!)

1 seitan cutlet, chopped into 1" pieces
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
3-4 baby red potatoes, cubed (really small ones, i'd use only 1 or two regular sized taters)
handful of broccoli florets
couple handfuls of spinach
handful of peas (i forgot these and kicked myself later, but you should use them)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
3 or 4 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 425F.

First, get your pie crust started (you could also just use frozen pie crusts...if you want to CHEAT). Mix together the flour and salt. Cut in shortening until the flour resembles fine crumbles. If you have a pastry cutter, you can use that, but I just used my hands. Sprinkle on the water and mix in (really, just use your hands, it's easiest) until you have a smooth dough. Divide into two equal pieces, roll one out to fit a 9 inch pie plate, put it in the plate and leave it alone until later. Cover your other dough ball with plastic wrap, or it will dry out (like mine did).

Next up, chop your veggies. You will steam these before they go into the pie crust to bake. This is my genius solution to steaming lots of different veggies: Get a medium pot and put about 2 inches of water in the bottom, along with your steaming apparatus (ours just fits into the bottom of the pot). Then, chop your veggies in the order they'll need to cook, starting with the ones that take the longest, and layer in the pot accordingly. Mine went potatoes, carrots, celery, spinach, broccoli. Lid it up and turn on the heat. By the time you start to smell the veggies, they're done. This took me until I was done with the gravy. Drain them when they're finished. note: the parsley and scallions (and peas if using) don't get precooked!

Ok, so while the veggies are steaming, make your gravy. Melt the buttery stuff in the bottom of another medium pot. Add the onions and cook for about a minute, then add the flour and stir until it's bubbly. Turn off heat. Pour in the soymilk and water, drop in the bouillon cube, and add the poultry seasoning (sage, thyme, and oregano would work fine). You might also want to grind some pepper in at this point, if you like (i do). Put back on the heat and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Hold it there for about a minute, and keep stirring. You will see it thicken. Take off the heat.

Add veggies (including scallions and parsley and peas this time) to the gravy along with the chopped seitan. Stir it up and pour it in the piecrust. Roll out the second crust and fit it on top the filling. Crimp down edges (michael did this for me, i was too frustrated) and make sure you make some slits on the top for the steam to escape. Or you could do something creative like cut out little shapes and then use that dough to make nice cute decorations. I just wasn't there yet. Brush top crust with oil, if you want it to be a toasty brown (i'd honestly had enough fat content at this point though). Place pie on a cookie sheet lined with foil (in case it overflows), throw it in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.

I really did eat half this pie. It was so amazingly delicious that I couldn't stand it. I couldn't stand it!!
how on earth could you resist this? you can't. it's that simple.

So this was a huge hit. Next time, I'll use my pastry flour and do something creative and lovely with my crust. But seriously, when it's just Michael and me, presentation isn't always the first thing on my mind, especially when things like crusts are giving me fits. Forgive me? kthnx.

I think I was going to say something else, but I'm blanking. Maybe I'll remember later....

eta: I can remember one thing I was thinking about. I absolutely love having a blogname that starts with an 'A' because I'm at the top (or close) of anyone's blogroll that has added me. I know that's silly, but I just love, as a new blogger, seeing my blog on other amazing vegan blogs. Thank you to all that have added me! If I for some reason haven't added you yet, let me know and I totally will. I'm all about spreading the vegan word, friends.


Virginia said...

That pie looks awesome. I don't know if I would go to that much trouble on a weeknight, go you!

allularpunk said...

virginia - i have loads of free time most evenings because i get out of work at 5 and michael's not done until between 9-11 from class/work. for most people though, this would definitely be a weekend meal!

VeganCowGirl said...

i love love love veggie pot pie! You rock for making this and posting some yummy looking photos!!!

jessy said...

i would have tried to eat the whole damn thing. sweet deliciousness, it looks awesome! that's one rock'n pot pie. fo 'sho!

i think i fear pot pies because i suck @ crust making, but you're making me crave a pot pie now! mmmmmmm! and i may just have to make one.....

we're all about casseroles, stews, and other "warm you ups" for the fall and winter, too. i puffy heart some serious comfort foods with all the fall harvest awesomeness! yay!

Marni said...

Nice! This looks fantasmic. Veggies? In a pie?! With seitan?!?!?! :::faint::: I'm all inspired now to try my hand at a veggie pot pie.

Welcome to wonderful world of blogging, by the way. :)