Thursday, October 23, 2008


Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa is a master at taking a mixture of seemingly incongruous ingredients and blending them together into delectable dishes.

My rule has always been to only cook recipes that had less than seven ingredients. I am so glad I broke the rule and made this one! Deb of Kahakai Kitchen chose this for our October challenge. Thanks Deb!

For those of you watching your pennies, I found some cool saffron threads imported from Italy at the grocery store that were in this tiny container and were only about $3-4 - a huge savings over those big daddy bottles that rob your wallet of about $15.
I substituted a sweet potato for the butternut squash. I substituted white wine for the Pernaud, and I added about 1/4 lb. of pancetta just for taste. I also added some garlic. Okay I know what you are thinking. . . yes, my pie crust went a little overboard in places. Let's face it, I'm not a good pie crust crimper.

I halved the recipe since there are only two of us, but it still would have served four. So I just used one dish instead of the four Ina suggested.

Nothing good comes without consequences, however. While I was chopping the fennel bulb, the knife just flew right off the fennel and cut not only my finger, but sliced across my nail as well. I never saw it coming. Ouch. Before you send flowers, I still have my finger and the nail will grow back with time, so all is good.
Be sure to leave me a comment next Tuesday, Oct. 28 for my Pay-It-Forward give-a-way! I'll be giving a giftcard and I will announce the winner on Halloween!
Bottom line - we loved it. I will definitely make this again and I would make the same substitutions!

Vegetable Pot Pie (From Barefoot Contessa)

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)

2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)

1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups good chicken stock

1 tablespoon Pernod

Pinch saffron threads

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons heavy cream1

1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)

1 1/2 cups asparagus tips

1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)

1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash

1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)

1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry:3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Finally, feeling kind of silly today. Here are some cute ghost jokes.

Q: When does a ghost have breakfast? A: In the moaning.
Q: What do ghosts drink at breakfast? A: Coffee with scream and sugar.
Q: What is a ghost's favourite dessert ? A: Boo-Berry pie with I-scream !


Debinhawaii said...

Having done the finger slice thing on a recipe a month or so ago I can feel your pain! (And it was fennel too but in a slicer box. Drat that fennel!) I am glad you made the recipe even with more than 7 ingredients! Great job and take care of your poor finger!

Anonymous said...

I bet the pancetta was awesome! My just took too long to make, plus my dishwasher was broken.

Cathy said...

Peggy, I once had to go to the ER because I sliced my finger when cutting on onion and it wouldn't stop bleeding - so I feel you pain (literally). You picked a good recipe for suspending your 7 ingredient rule! I bet that this was great with sweet potatoes -- and they're easier to peel, too! Yours looks perfect!

Anne said...

I'm sorry about your finger- that's awful!

I love your seven ingredient rule but I think this is a good exception. Great job on your pie- it looks delicious!

Laura said...

Ouch! So glad that cut wasn't serious! My husband really liked this but said it would be better with bacon - to me, pancetta would be so much better. What a great idea!

Esi said...

Sorry about your injury, but glad you liked the recipe!

Audrey said...

I put sweet potatoes in mine too...and I would have put pancetta in if I had thought of it. And thank you for the jokes! I have six nephews, and need to work constantly on my material. :)

Megan said...

Ouch on the finger. Pre blogging days, I would of probably not made this because of the long list of ingredients. But I'm glad I did because it was so delicious. great job!

Cynthia's Blog said...

Good job on the crust. I think it looks great! I'd be rich if I had a nickle for every time I cut my finger in the kitchen....

Bellini Valli said...

Too bad about your finger. It just happens when you least expect it. Your pie looks amazing by the way:D

Summer said...

Ouch! I hope your finger heals quickly. That is totally something I would have done. I wanted to add garlic, then I forgot, great idea! And pancetta...delish! Well done!

Prudy said...

Sorry about the ginger! Darn. Your pie looks so good. I think your golden brown crust looks just perfect. Have an extra piece just to nurse your finger back to health.

Natashya said...

That's the great thing about this dish - you can play with it.
I love your subs and your rustic crust! I am so happy that you loved it too.

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

I like all the substitutions you made. Sorry about your knife incident. Something that makes my nails grow fast AND strong is a product called Nailtiques. You can get it at Ulta or other beauty stores. HTH

Suzie said...

Hope your finger is better. Your pie looks delicious - and so does your pastry.

Matt's Kitchen said...

I actually cringed while reading about your finger and nail! Yes, they do heal, but it takes forever, and it throbs! (Sorry, I probably should try to cheer you up...)

You were better off with the white wine. I used the Pernod, and it didn't add much to the dish.

Andrea said...

The pot pie looks wonderful, I love the rustic crust look! The sweet potato was a great idea, I will have to try that in a pot pie. Sorry about your finger! Your ghost jokes are too cute, my three year old is in love with telling jokes right now and she especially enjoyed them! What a fun picture of you and your husband at a Halloween party :)

Misty said...

Ouch! Whenever I do something like that and yell "ah!" in the kitchen my husband asks, "hospital?" It hasn't been that bad yet.

You pot pie looks great. Wasn't the sauce good, even with the similar substitutions we both made?