I have to admit that I was not excited about this recipe choice and seriously considered sitting this one out. However, when I started this little venture, I told myself that I had to make them ALL....even the ones that didn't particularly appeal to me.
So why was I not excited about this??
First of all, I LIKE MEAT....a lot. Anything related to vegetables are just meant to be an accompaniment to my MEAT. So when I saw that this recipe had no MEAT, I was, well, sad.
So, I added MEAT (that's the last time, I promise).
And it made it better....I'm sure of it.
The only other point of concern for this recipe was making my own pastry. I don't like to make pastry. Just ask my mother.....when she comes here for Thanksgiving or Christmas every year, her one duty is to make pie crusts for my freezer. I kid you not. It intimidates me.
Which explains why I used the ever appropriate Pillsbury pie crusts in a box. I know, I know, Ina would not approve, but she'll get over it.
OK that was a rather long-winded explanation to what turned out to be a killer pot pie. This one is a keeper. As I mentioned, I added chicken (Fresh Market rotisserie). I also added mushrooms (I sauteed those with the fennel and onions) and I eliminated the Pernod (I didn't have any, and figured since it was just a tablespoon, no one would notice) and the frozen onions (couldn't find those at FM). I started out with the suggested amounts of all of the veggies, but because I added chicken and mushrooms, I didn't end up using all of them....there would not have been enough sauce.
I also used individual ramekins instead of the bigger bowls suggested. I knew a ramekin size serving would be perfect for myself and Donna (my official BB taste tester).
I made four of them thinking I'd have enough for lunch tomorrow, but Charlotte and Connally showed up and finished off the last two....and I mean finished! I always know something is good, if Charlotte will actually eat the whole thing. Success.
So, for all of the procrastination, this was a huge success. It was the perfect dinner on what was the first really chilly day in Alabama. I would absolutely make this again....possibly for a dinner party, served with a great salad.
Thanks to Ina (as always, "perfect") and to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for choosing this.
Here's the recipe:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sliced, yellow onions (2 onions).....I used one white onion....forgot to get yellow
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod......eliminated this
Pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 teaspooons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4 inch diced carrots (4 carrots)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4 inch diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)....I eliminated this
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
For the pastry.....we know what happened here
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 more minute, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8 inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2 inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.