Vegetable Potpie with Gluten Free Olive-Studded Crust

>> Sunday, March 16, 2014

I've had a part-time gig cooking for a family that is vegan and gluten free, and I made this pot pie for them recently. I hadn't worked much with gluten-free flours. To be honest, the list of flour mixtures makes me a little nervous - baking and pastry making and tricky as it is. It turned out to be a light, flaky crust full of flavor from the kalamata olives and filled with a creamy blend of vegetables. The recipe was inspired by one in the cookbook Veganomicon.

After I cooked the pie for my friends, I made a duplicate for us using meat-related items and all purpose flour (avoiding food contamination, which I learned in a class last summer!). Joe absolutely loved it. Why have we not put chopped olives into a pastry crust before? For the vegan/GF version, I used soy milk, Bob's Red Mill all-purpose flour, and Natural Balance buttery spread. I've included both versions here.

In an almost completely unrelated train of thought, my friend and I submitted art to the local Lemon Street Gallery, and we were both accepted a few weeks ago! Rebecca Stahr is focused on encaustic, which is a wax resin she applies to artist boards, along with found objects and natural materials.

I submitted several of my non-food photographs. The bad potpie photo shown above notwithstanding (it was taken at 10 pm after I got home from work), I have been working steadily at photography for quite some time now. Several of my food photos have been accepted by the "food porn" site FoodGawker. You can see my artist's bio and work here, if you are interested, you can order art prints from my Etsy site AngelaWD.


For the crust

2 1/2 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 120 degrees)
1/2 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour, plus a little more for kneading
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil, divided in half (or vegan margarine melted)
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped coarsely

For the filling

3 tbsp vegan margarine, or 3 tbsp butter
2 cups unsweetened plain soy or almond milk, or dairy milk
2 tsp dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, trimmed, washed, and cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
1 leek, tough outer leaves removed, and sliced thinly
2/3 cup carrots, peeled and diced
2/3 cup frozen or fresh peas
2/3 cup sliced mushrooms


Pour the yeast into a small bowl, and slowly add the warm water, stirring constantly. Stir in the sugar. Allow the yeast to work into small bubbles for about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tbsp of the oil. In a large mixing bowl, stir together half the flour and salt. Make a hollow in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir until well mixed. Stir in the cold water. Gradually add the rest of the flour while stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball.

Sprinkle a flat surface with flour, and put flour on your hands. Knead the dough on the surface until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl coated with olive oil. Turn the dough over and cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Allow it to rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down the risen dough and fold in the chopped olives. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface flatten the ball of dough and roll to form a round thin crust large enough to cover the bottom of a large pie pan. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough around the pin then transfer to the pie pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine or butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour until it forms a thick paste, then stir until the mixture is browned and bubbly. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking the sauce continuously. Then add the thyme, tarragon, marjoram, and mustard powder, stirring until it is well incorporated. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, making sure the sauce does not stick to the pan and remains creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, leeks and carrots, and sauté for 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the mushrooms and peas, and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms has evaporated. Cover with a lid and steam over low heat for 10 minutes.

Spoon the filling into the pie pan. Roll out the top crust the same as before. Use a thin knife and make small slits in the top crust, roll it onto the rolling pin, and roll out over the top of the filling. Pinch the edges of the top and bottom crust together like when making a pie. Brush the top with some olive oil or melted vegan margarine. Place in middle of oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Be careful the top crust doesn't get too brown.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4-6.


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