Sunday, October 2, 2011

Root Vegetable Pie with Parmesan Crust

It was feeling particularly like fall had all-too-quickly descended upon us last week- the too-cool floors in the morning, rain fall and sweaters and boots dug up from the closets. All we want is warming comfort food.

I started researching vegetable pies and found a recipe online for British celebrity chef Delia's Root Vegetable Pie. The parmesan crust sounded amazing and it looked like it was super adaptable to whatever vegetables and cheese you had on hand- the perfect marriage to my fridge of misfit vegetables that needed to be used up.

A pie seems like a lot of work but this one was relatively simple. A few cooked vegetables, a sauce and a quick little crust to blanket the goodness.

We were impressed. Although my husband said that chicken would have been perfect in the pie (as would have tofu, really) he seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.

If you need a little comfort and warmth, try this recipe. It can be assembled and baked within an hour so it can be made for a week- night meal (or can be prepped beforehand and stuck in the freezer until needing to  be baked). This would also be a perfect vegetarian option for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

(If you want to check out Delia's original recipe, here it is:

Root Vegetable Pie with Parmesan Crust
Don't be put off by the number of steps, it comes together quite easily. While the dough is chilling, prep the vegetables and sauce. Pair this hearty meal with a spicy arugula salad dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice.

If you mix the crust ingredients in a food processor, there is no need to dice and grate the ingredients.

3/4 cup unbleached flour
4 tbsp cold butter, diced (if unsalted, add a large pinch of salt)
30 grams parmesan, grated
2 tbsp ice water

1. Mixing in a food processor or by hand, mix flour, butter and parmesan until butter is incorporated (pulse a few times). Add water and pulse another few times until mixture comes together. Shape into flattened round and wrap in plastic bag or in a bowl covered with plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

You can really use almost any vegetable in this melange- Delia's suggests rutabaga, butternut squash or celeriac in addition to the standard veg. You will need approximately 6 cups vegetables to fill a standard pie or tart plate. I just used the simple ingredient that I had on hand but I think broccoli would have also been quite nice in the mix.

2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
2 cups peeled and chopped parsnips
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Steam vegetables for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until fork-tender. When drained, sprinkle with salt and garlic.

Cheese Sauce
This really can be adapted to whatever cheese you have on hand, a sharp cheddar, a creamy gruyere or emmental. You can add more cheese if you so desire.

1 onion, minced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheese, or to taste (I used a combo of cheddar and parmesan)
1-2 tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp finely minced sage
a few sprigs thyme, removed from woody stems
pinch nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, cook onion in butter over medium to medium-high heat until softened but not browned. Add flour and stir, cooking for a minute or two.
2. Whisk in vegetable broth and cook until thickened. Add cream, cheese, herbs and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. Add more herbs or seasoning if desired.


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Gently mix vegetables and cheese sauce together.
3. Spoon vegetable mixture into buttered pie or tart plate.
4. Roll parmesan crust into a large circle and place over vegetables, tucking crust edges under itself and press down gently.
5. Place pie plate on baking sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling begins to bubble from the edges.