Dairy free, gluten free, nut free, bovine free, soy free, low salt. Plus Vermont localvore, and bright pink. It was a potato-crusted chicken (or chick pea) and winter vegetable pie for 40 for Burlington CoHousing’s Valentine’s Day dinner.
This recipe definitely exemplifies my “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” theory of cooking. In the cohousing kitchen we nearly always have leftover unused ingredients from previous meals: my scavenging yielded peas and frozen brussels sprouts for the pie, plus some bonus greens for the slaw we served on the side. I had wheedled vendors at this weekend’s farmer’s market for their less-than-perfect roots, and combined with what we had around. The quantities and specific vegetables below are just a guide to get started – use what you’ve got, or can get cheaply.
- If you’re doing a meat version, make sure you’ve got the meat itself cooked and ready ahead of time. Because we were cooking for 40, I used two large chickens; for 8 people about a half chicken should be enough.
- Will your children eat pink mashed potatoes? Do tell. Z. kept both objecting to the food on his plate and eating the food on his plate, spearing Brussels sprouts and squealing “cabbage ball!” while giggling and eating away.
Chicken & Winter Vegetable Pot Pie with Pink Potato Crust
Reprinted from February 2011 Vermont Woman
1. Starting your engines:
Turn on oven to 400. Generously oil two rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
Put large pot of salted water on to boil.
Butter the bottom and sides of a nice deep lasagna pan, or other fairly large baking dish. Set aside.
2. Get those vegetables ready:
Chop into 1” pieces and place in large bowl:
- ½ butternut squash (peel if you like)
- 2 peeled beets
- 3 medium-large peeled parsnips
- 3 carrots
Clean outer leaves, and cut in half if very large:
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts
Add sprouts to bowl along with:
- ½ t. salt
- few grinds fresh pepper
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 T. balsamic or apple cider vinegar
Toss well (it’s easiest if you use your hands) Spread onto prepared baking sheets into single layer, and place in oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until sizzling and very tender when poked with a fork. Leave oven on.
4. Next stages of construction: Take 3 or 4 pieces of beet, puree in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender, and put puree in a medium-large bowl and set aside. Place other vegetables in your prepared baking dish and toss with:
- 3 c. cooked chicken (or turkey, or chick peas, or cubed firm tofu – Vermont Soy’s Maple-Ginger is perfect in this)
- ½ t. ground thyme or 1 t. dried thyme leaves or whatever herb you feel like.
- 1 T. flour (or rice flour, if you want to keep this gluten free)
- ½ t. salt
- ¼ c. broth or water
4. And the potatoes:
While pot of water is heating, peel (if you like, or if your potatoes aren’t organic) and quarter:
- 3 lbs. potatoes
Once water is boiling, add potatoes to water and cook at a gentle boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Remove potatoes to bowl with beet puree.
5. The mash:
Add to bowl:
- ¼ c. butter
- ½ c. buttermilk
- ½ t. salt (or to taste)
- beet puree
Then mash or whip until very smooth and creamy. I like to use a hand-held electric mixer and beat them until they’re smooth and kind of gooey, but you should use whatever method gives you the potatoes that feel right to you. (Vegan/dairy free version: 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 T. tahini, salt, reserved beet puree, which is what we made and it was deeeeeeeeeee-licious. Look how adorable those pink potatoes, not to mention the fabulous Ming and Melinda with whom I was cooking!)
6. Putting it all together: Here’s where you can be fussy or not fussy. There’s nothing wrong with taking a big spoon and dropping spoonfuls of the potato mix in a rustic fashion over the top of the vegetable and chicken mix. Or you can use a pastry bag and pipe it on. They’ll both taste great.
7. Cooking it up: Bake for about 25 minutes at 400, until edges are starting to get golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for a couple of minutes and then serve.