Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vegetable stew with a pastry crust

Here's some plain and pretty easy comfort food, especially easy and impressive if, as I did, you have a little extra pastry dough already made up. I found the recipe at Cooking in Color; it's been published by the blog's author, Nanette Blanchard, in her book 'Tis the Season: A Vegetarian Christmas Cookbook.

I made a very few changes, halving the recipe, adding Soy Curls and dried tomatoes, using pastry dough instead of puff pastry because it was what I had (Nanette also suggests a biscuit topping, which would have been good, and I'll suggest my own perennial favorite, dropped dumplings, if you'd prefer not to bake the stew. How about these smoked paprika corn dumplings? Ooh!).

What attracted me to this particular stew recipe was the vinegar/brown sugar/mustard/cinnamon seasoning palate, and the fact that you add the flour at the beginning and cook the vegetables right in the roux. Both worked out great. The seasonings were subtle, not overpowering, and complimented the vegetables nicely. This again is one of those recipes where it really helps to start with a delicious vegetable stock. It was especially nice on a day like this, the kind of day you spend with a good book, a cup of tea, and a couple of warm cats, watching the snow fall and fall. This is turning out to be a very pretty winter for us here in Edmonton, Canada.

Vegetable stew with a pastry crust
adapted from Nanette Blanchard's 'Tis the Season: A Vegetarian Christmas Cookbook
serves 2

1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp unbleached flour
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp prepared ballpark-style mustard
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry Soy Curls
small handful dehydrated tomatoes (not oil-packed), crumbled
large pinch ground cinnamon (don't omit this!)
1 carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 large potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
pastry dough to cover the baking dish

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes over medium heat until tender. Stir in the flour until completely mixed. Add the vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. Stir in the broth, cinnamon, carrots, potatoes, Soy Curls, and dehydrated tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until thickened and the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. Add the peas and corn and cook an additional 10 minutes. (The recipe can be made ahead at this point.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 1-quart casserole dish. Spoon in the vegetable stew and let cool slightly. On a floured board, roll out the pastry to cover the top of your casserole dish, with a little overhang if you have enough pastry. Fit the rolled pastry over the top of the stew in the casserole dish. Bake the casserole, uncovered, until the pastry is golden brown on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.


  1. The stew sounds wonderful, especially with the cinnamon in there. Seems perfect for a cozy day watching the snow fall. It does look lovely.

  2. Looks beautiful and delicious! Nice cutouts on the pie.