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.
Chickpea Pot Pie (Suitable for ACD Stage 2 and beyond)
Forget about pie crust–this pot pie with a super-simple crumble crust is the ultimate comfort food. And so easy! The chickpeas add protein and bulk so you’ll feel pleasantly full and satisfied.
For the Filling:
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2 medium carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cups (480 ml) cooked chickpeas (about one large can–19 oz or 540 ml)
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dried dill or 3 Tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh dill
For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra virgin coconut oil, preferably organic
1/4 cup (60 ml) brown rice flour
1 cup (240 ml) plain unsweetened almond milk, hemp or other non-dairy milk of choice
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth or stock
1 Tbsp (15 ml) white or mild miso
For the Biscuit Crumble Topping:
1 cup (135 g) Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (or any all-purpose gluten free flour that can be substituted one-for-one instead of wheat flour)
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) xanthan gum
1/4 tsp (1 ml) fine sea salt
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil, preferably organic, chilled
1/4 cup (60 ml) plain unsweetened almond milk, hemp or other non-dairy milk of choice
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Grease a casserole dish with coconut oil or spray with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large nonstick frypan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the carrots, onion, celery and chickpeas. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the chickpeas just begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. Stir in the parsley and dill and turn off heat.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium pot, melt the coconut oil withthe rice flour over medium-low heat. Cook and stir for a minute or two, then slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the milk until well blended. Add the other 1/2 cup (120 ml) and whisk to blend. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth; turn off heat. Add the vegetables to the sauce in the pot and stir gently just to coat them; pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
Make the crumble topping: In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Break the coconut oil into small pieces and scatter it over the flour, then pinch the mixture between your thumb and fingers until crumbly and all the oil is incorporated. Drizzle with the milk and toss with a fork until it comes together in a moist, crumbly mixture.
Scatter the crumble mixture evenly over the vegetables in the casserole. Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the biscuits are lightly browned on top and the filling is bubbling at the sides. Makes 4-6 servings. May be frozen.
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