Kitchen Classics: Chickpea Pot Pie

With our wacky summer-like temperatures this past week breaking records more than once, it may seem out of sync to post a pot pie recipe.  And even though I first made this a few weeks ago, we’ve been enjoying it regularly since then. I like to think of it as my final nod to the winter weather that never really materialized here in Toronto.  Yep, 2012 will go down in the annals of DDD as The Best Toronto Winter Ricki Has Ever Experienced. Barely any snow. An abundance of brilliant sunshine.  Thermometer reading above  above freezing almost every day.

And this pot pie.

When I was a kid, pot pie was most decidedly not on the menu.  An avid TV watcher back then, I used to fantasize that my mom would one day cook it for us, perhaps rolling pastry while decked out in pearls and a pinstriped apron  à la June Cleaver. With her tailored blouse and perfectly shellacked, upswept bouffant hair, my mother would proffer a huge Corningware casserole that she gripped on each side with blue quilted oven mitts. She’d set the dish just so on a silver trivet on the dining room table, lift the cover with a flourish as a burst of steam escaped.  My father, still in his shirt and tie (never mind that in reality he was a butcher whose attire consisted of blood-stained apron and grease) would reach eagerly to dole out portions to my sisters and me as we sat waiting calmly for our mom to join us. Then we’d all nibble demurely for the next hour or so, the clink of silver on bone china the only background to our lively dinner conversation.

In the real world, pot pie proved far too daunting for my mother.  While an avid baker, she never mastered pastry (the only pies my mother ever baked had crumb crusts, or crusts that my Aunty M made and delivered to us).  As a result, pot pie was never something she attempted (and besides, her hair was too fine and thin to support that updo, anyway). Instead, the closest we ever got to pot pie was patty shells–or, as we knew them growing up in Montreal, vol-au-vent.

Whenever Mom returned from the supermarket with a box of patty shells, we girls knew we were in for a special treat.  She’d transfer the shells to a cookie sheet and pop them in the oven, then set about heating a can of undiluted (a crucial detail) Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup on the stovetop.  Ten minutes later, the shells were ready and my sisters and I would each grab one on our way to the kitchen table, where we squirmed impatiently until my mother grabbed the soup pot by the handle (she used a kitchen towel instead of a pot holder) and, her housedress spattered with soup, shuffled over to the table and ladled some of the sauce over each pastry. Before she made it back to the stove, my sisters and I had already demolished the shells and were stuffing the creamy goo-coated peas and carrots into our mouths.

Ah, nothing like a classic dinner.

Well, maybe it’s my anticipation of Mad Men’s return to the airwaves this Sunday, but I had a hankering for a pot pie.  Though perhaps not quite as quick and easy as the patty shells, this variation is also nowhere nearly as complicated as my imaginary 1960s version, either.  Taking a cue from my friend Kelly, I created a crumble topping that requires absolutely no rolling or fluting of pie crust.  The filling is a simple combination of sautéed vegetables and chickpeas (browning the garbanzos deepens the savory characteristic of the beans while softening the texture for a perfect addition to this filling).  Add a quick and simple creamy sauce, bake in a casserole dish and–voilà!–a latter day pot pie that won’t stress you out.

Feel free to wear your hair any way you like when you serve it.

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  1. This looks wonderful! In the old days, I made a pot pie with pilsbury crust and cream of chicken soup. I have been wanting to learn to make it healthy and allergy friendly. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Just in case you weren’t aware: the first picture in this post, and in the previous one, has travelled to the sidebar on the right. Win7/Firefox 7.0.1.

    I’m glad I just ate, otherwise those pics would make me very hungry. 🙂

    • Thanks for letting me know, Tuuli. I think it was my social sharing buttons–I’ve moved them to the bottom of the post instead of at the top. Does it look better now?

  3. i was just telling my co-worker yesterday how much i wanted a pot-pie! i haven’t had one in ages and i was my favorite comfort food. i love that you used chickpeas rather than tofu or other fake meat protein. i can’t wait to make this!!

    • Thanks, Caitlin! And I guess your blog name explains why you like the chickpeas (ha ha!). Personally, the crumble crust is what made this something I was willing to make–pie pastry intimidates me! 😉

  4. It was when I started blogging that I came across pot pies and was a little unsure what they were – I think I still am – though I think it is anything with a lid! My mum makes pastry far more than me but I don’t remember lots of pies in my youth – apart from ye olde meat pie from a box. We did have vol au vents with ready made pastry shells- I loved them even though I remember the shells being very fragile. Your pie sounds wonderful as it is cooling down here – had to hunt out my cardigan today that hasn’t seen a lot of action over the last few months. Hope summer is as kind to you as winter has been.

    • I think “pot pie” is mostly a savory pie that has the crust on top instead of bottom! And how wonderful that you had vol au vents, too–I loved them, too, and I also remember how fragile they were (we used to love to crack the fork into them and see the splinters of pastry all over the plate). Glad this appeals to your weather right now! 🙂

  5. Oh I love potpie Ricki! Pete is the potpie creator in our house. I make the pastry, he does the rest. It’s perfect. Now we’ll have another version to try – and it will all be on him. Hehe, okay I’ll do the crumble part! I agree, what a Winter we’ve had. Woo hoo! Although I really hope we haven’t totally skipped Spring. I adore all things Spring.

    • That’s so nice of you to make the crumble anyway! 🙂 Gotta say I don’t particularly care if we miss spring, as long as winter doesn’t return! 😀

  6. Yet another delightful post, Ricki! With a few tiny tweaks, I’d absolutely love this one–thanks!


  7. A lovely meal indeed! So much better than your patty shells of old. 🙂 I heard you and Kelly talking about that crumble crust on your interview, so I’m glad to see you made a chickpea version!

  8. What a clever idea for a pot pie. I haven’t made a pot pie in ages (since going GF), but this recipe motivates me to give it a try. I do like chickpeas! Plus, your narration is so good that you’ve got me imagining that corningware casserole (square, French white with blue flowers) with pot pie inside. I can almost smell it. =)

    Great post!

    BTW, I’ve never seen Mad Men.

    • Thanks so much, Melissa! I had never made pot pie, either. . . but crumble crust just made it seem so “do-able.” 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Oh, swoon. I am consistently impressed wit how beautifully you reinvent comfort food classics. It will be some time before I can do any real cooking again (it’s the eye of the storm over here), but I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves and make this when I’m free again.

    • Well, Gena, coming from you (who manages to reinvent comfort food–in RAW form!!) that is quite the compliment. So thank you! 😀 I’m all about comfort (ha ha!!). And as for your upcoming exam-storm, I know you will get through it admirably, just like you tackle every other challenge, with aplomb. Can’t wait to see what you cook up when the time is right!

  10. Could this be easier? Could it look more delicious and soul-satisfyingly comforting? Can’t wait to try this. As for making it grain-free, I’ll bet you could easily work with almond flour and get a perfect crust. Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. This looks sooo good. But having Lyme and Candida, I’m not sure I can have this just yet. 🙁 You eat grains while having Candida? I love this website though! And your pictures are lovely and very enticing!!

    • Hi Andi, and thanks for your comment! I’ve been on the diet for over 3 years now and my symptoms are almost gone, so yes, I do eat grains on occasion these days. Some diets (like Whole Approach) allow grains from the get-go. It depends on which diet you’re following and how severe your symptoms are. If you check the recipe, you’ll see that it’s categorized as “Stage 2 and beyond,” once flours are incorporated. I don’t know where you are on the diet, but if you’re not at grains yet, you might want to look for Stage 1 recipes (most of the recpes between May 2009 and September 2009 on this blog are Stage 1). 🙂

      • Thank you for the response Ricki. Honestly, I’m not following anyone’s diet because I’m just so confused having more than one condition that are so similiar in symptoms. I’m fairly bad off with pain and fatigue as well as digestive issues. Although, they are starting to get a little better with taking probiodics daily. My LLMD (Lyme literate medical doctor) and I do not agree on dieting. He gave me a list of ‘OK’ foods to eat which included potato chips, corn chips, brown rice, triscuits, quinoa, beans, etc. Where I am reading so many conflicting opinions on this. For Lyme, the bacteria thrive on the same things candida does, sugar & starch. My LLMD’s list says no dairy, but I do endulge in a low glycemic (only sweetened with organic agave nectar) skim milk, grass fed cows and no preservatives whatsoever yogurt called Siggis. You should check it out. It’s pretty darn good! It definitely is not very sweet and it’s an icelandic style yogurt, so even thicker than greek yogurt. But it helps to regulate my digestive system since I had a candida overgrowth before even starting my antibiodics which I am now on for the Lyme.

        Anyhow, I am sure I need to pick a diet and stick with it, but honestly I don’t know what to do? I have been eating no starch, no sugar (except a handful of berries ocassionally or a grapefruit) no processed foods and no dairy (except the ocassional yogurt)

        I wish I had some help on this one because it seems every website and every doctor has a different opinon on diet.

  12. I just had a Lyme moment there..sorry I forgot you were vegan, so scratch the yogurt.

    • No worries! I’m so sorry you’re having diet troubles. One thing I’ve said before, and I truly believe, is that our digestive systems/bodies are as individual as our fingerprints. What works for one may not work for another–we have to examine what works for us, and go with that. I hope you can reach an agreement with your doctor!

  13. Pot pie with a crumble topping instead of a crust — what a great idea. I can’t remember my mother ever making a pie, or anything resembling a pie. Our pot pies came from a box in the freezer section, and were infrequent. My father used to brag about his mother’s pot pies, which was a sure guarantee that my mother would never attempt one.

    • Andrea, are you sure we weren’t raised in the same household? No pies for us, either. No packaged pot pies, either, actually! And wish I could take credit for the crumble crust idea, but it was Kelly’s, not mine (but imitation is the best form of flattery, right?) 😉

  14. A gluten-free pot pie that looks delicious…I’m in! I am not sure what I enjoy more Ricki–your fantastic writing or amazing recipes. Thanks for another wonderful post!

  15. It’s 9am and I’m totally craving this now. I always want to make pot pie but I can never think of how to make the crust healthier. You’re so creative Ricki!

    • Ha ha! Well, what’s wrong with pot pie at 9:00 AM?? 😉 And I’d love to take credit for the crust idea, but it was Kelly’s! 🙂

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