Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Pot Pie

The Meatless Monday cure for the rainy-day blues: Aida Mollenkamp's Vegetarian Pot Pie.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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It's rainy and nasty here in New York and even though it's almost May, I'm freezing and craving hot cocoa. While I should go home tonight and make a salad with some fresh spring greens, I need something way more comforting.

I made Aida Mollenkamp's Vegetarian Pot Pie for Thanksgiving last year (I like to bring a meat-free dish to family gatherings since, contrary to a certain aunt's beliefs, turkey is not vegetarian) but I'm going to make this pot pie tonight, only I'll spring-ify it by swapping the fresh peas I got at the farmer's market this weekend for the frozen.

The best part about this recipe is that it calls for frozen puff pastry, so you don't have to spend all night making homemade pie crust for it. It makes for great leftovers, too, so for me, this rainy-night meal will turn into a few days' worth of rainy-day brown-bag lunches.

Serves: 8
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 small heads fennel, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (about 5 cups)
1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low-sodium mushroom broth
1 cup whole milk
1 cup frozen baby green peas
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1/4 cup parsley
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 large egg yolk
7 ounces store-bought puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Melt butter over medium heat in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add fennel, onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add peas, herbs, and vinegar, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.

With kitchen shears, cut dough to fit over the baking dish. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with hot cocoa, if you're chilly and cranky about the wet weather like I am.

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