Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Black Olive Crust

Cauliflower Mushroom Potpie

It is cold, rainy and windy outside and there is nothing like coming indoors for a hot potpie. When I was a child my mother used to buy frozen Birdseye chicken potpies and put them in the oven for us to eat when we came home for lunch. (We walked back and forth from Hilltop Elementary school for lunch.) This recipe strikes a chord with that memory and then soars above it to new potpie heights.

This is probably the hands down favorite dinner in my house this winter – slightly labor intensive when contemplated, so I make it only every so often – but once I get started it is always easier than I anticipated. The recipe is lifted almost verbatim from Veganomicon by Moscowitz and Romero. Brackets indicate my changes or notes. If you are an experienced cook just read the ingredients and skip to the bottom paragraph for the skinny on throwing this together.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Black Olive Crust
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
4 tablespoons all pupose [whole wheat] flour
2 cups rice, almond or soy milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon salt

Vegetable filling:
1 pound cauliflower chopped into bite size pieces [one good sized head]
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1 leek thinly sliced
1 small carrot diced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon sherry or white wine vinegar

1+1/4 cups all purpose [whole wheat] flour or mixture of all purpose and pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of thyme
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
4-5 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a heavy oven to table dutch oven. If you don’t have one, use a large heavy bottomed pot to prepare the filling and a large deep casserole dish to bake the finished potpie.

Preparing the sauce: In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine and sprinkle in the flour. Stir to form a thick paste. Cook the mixture until fragrant, bubbling and lightly browned, 4-5 minutes.
Temporarily turn off the heat. Slowly pour in the soy milk, using a whisk to stir. Whisk in the dried herbs and spices, add bay leaf. TUrn on the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly with whisk, for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove bay leaf, adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Preparing the vegetable filling: Heat the oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots and saute for 6-8 minutes, until softened. Add mushrooms and vinegar, stir and cook another 6-8 minutes until most excess liquid from mushrooms has evaporated. Add the cauliflower, stir, cover and steam for about 8 minutes. When the cauliflower has just begun to soften, remove the lid turn off the heat and set aside.
Preparing crust: (Do while cauliflower is steaming). Sift together the dry ingredients. With a pastry cutter cut in the cold margarine until crumbly, then drizzle in 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix. Drizzle in more water until soft dough forms. Fold in the olives. Pat the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll it with a rolling pin to form a circle. Cut into diamonds to place over top of the casserole. [I keep the dough in one large circle to overlap casserole – fold it into quarters and then re-open it over the casserole. More in keeping with my picture of that childhood potpie.]
Assemble: Re-whisk the sauce, mix in with the vegetable mix, pour into your casserole pan. Put dough over top and brush with soy milk. Bake for 35-40 minutes until biscuit topping is slightly brown.  Caution – filling will be hot straight out of oven!

Phew. It is harder to copy the recipe than it is to make it. Basically you are creating a roux, cooking up some vegetables, mixing them up and placing a quick biscuit dough over the top. Do not fear. Delight will ensue. Potpie.

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4 Responses to Cauliflower and Mushroom Potpie with Black Olive Crust

  1. Laura says:

    I don’t see how much olive to add into the crust. Other than that it looks like it would be great comfort food!


  2. I tried this tonight, first thing from my new veganomicon I made 🙂 It was delicious! Your biscuit topping looks much better than mine though – very thin and crispy… But it looks like you didn’t change anything from the original other than using wholemeal flour, right? I should try that next time.


  3. Pingback: Day 28: Still Vegan, and first approaches to Veganomicon « vegansmarties

  4. Pingback: Day 28: Still Vegan, and first approaches to Veganomicon | The Saint Online

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