My husband has never eaten meat in his life, and he did not grow up in America. Because of this, I was very surprised to learn that he knew about the American classic: Vegetable Pot Pie.
While pot pie did not originate in the U.S., “American Cookery,” published in 1796, included recipes for chicken pot pie and beef pot pie, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
The same source suggests that chicken pot pie can be traced to the Roman Empire, when the pastries may have had live birds inside that surprised people at the dinner table.
My husband learned about Vegetable Pot Pie because of Amy’s Kitchen, a vegetarian natural foods brand that got its start with vegetable pot pies.
Amy’s was founded in 1987 by Andy and Rachel Berliner, whose first salable vegetable pot pies were made in their family kitchen.
With a focus on organics, Amy’s catered to people who wanted gluten-free and dairy-free options at a time when there was next to nothing of the sort on the market.
Thirty years later, Amy’s Kitchen is everywhere, including where my husband could see it in the supermarket freezer case. The company sells 250 products, employs over 1,900 people, and reported revenues of over half a billion dollars as of August 2017, according to Wikipedia.
After my hubby moved to the U.S., he wanted to learn about American food and what people here eat. Amy’s is a great representation of this. In addition to pot pies, the company sells burritos, bowls, pizza, wraps, soups, and chili. Sounds familiar right?
Perfect For The Holidays
Vegetable Pot Pie’s familiarity to many as a classic comfort food is why I recommend homemade Vegetable Pot Pie as the centerpiece for a vegetarian holiday dinner.
The savory flavor of Vegetable Pot Pie is kind of meaty too, so it is a good substitute for ham or turkey.
Having made this recipe a few times now, I can confidently tell you that pot pie is surprisingly easy to make.
Basically you sauté some vegetables, and add flour and liquid to make the sauce. Simmer a bit, and then transfer to a baking dish. Cover the stew-like mixture with pastry, bake, and you are set.
What you end up with is a warm, comforting bite of hearty root vegetables topped in flaky, buttery pastry.
Dare I say, Vegetable Pot Pie is a healthy decadence? It’s perfect for a special occasion, or even a special Sunday dinner.
Recipe for Classic Vegetable Pot Pie
- For this recipe, you will need an 8-inch round or square casserole or pie dish. You will also need either store-bought puff pastry, or homemade savory tart pastry. You can see my recipe for Savory Tart Dough for detailed instructions.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 leek, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock, or water
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup russet potato, diced
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (or homemade) , thawed
- 1 egg white, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
Prepare the vegetable pot pie filling
- Melt butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, leeks, carrots, celery, sage, salt, and pepper. Sauté until vegetables just soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour and use a wooden spoon to mix it thoroughly into the vegetables. Add vegetable broth or water and stir well. Add the milk and stir well. Continue stirring until the gravy is smooth.
- Bring to a boil. Add peas and potatoes. Cook 10 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Transfer to a pie or casserole dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit .
Prepare the vegetable pot pie pastry
- Option 1, store-bought puff pastry: Carefully roll out puff pastry with a rolling pin to smooth any creases. Trim pastry to about 1 inch larger than the diameter of your baking dish. Tuck the pastry into the edges of the filling, and cut steam vents into the top of the pastry with a sharp knife. Use a brush to top the pastry with egg wash.
- Option 2, homemade savory tart pastry: See my recipe for Savory Tart Pastry for instructions for making the pastry. It is a versatile pastry for any savory tarts and pies.
- Roll out your Savory Tart Pastry to about a 1/4 inch thick, so that it covers the diameter of your baking tray plus about 1 inch. Transfer the pastry to your baking tray. Tuck the pastry into the edges of the filling, and cut steam vents into the top of the pastry with a sharp knife. Use a brush to top the pastry with egg wash.
Bake the vegetable pot pie
- Place your baking dish on a baking sheet if there is a chance it could run over. Bake in a 400 degree oven until pastry is golden brown, and the filling is bubbling, about 20 to 25 minutes.