Monday, April 4, 2011

Pot pie experiments

Pies and pastries are something I love to play around with although the vast majority of the time I freely admit that I cheat and use ready-made puff pastry sheets. When we moved back in after renovations, one of the few things I purchased for the kitchen were some ramekins as pot pies were high on my to-do list.

When choosing recipes for my Planet VeGMeL week I found a couple of pot pie recipes that almost made my selections and have been made since. The first one I tried was sweet potato and corn pot pies with adobo sauce from Where's the Beef (originally from 101 Cookbooks) which weren't really my cup of tea although I'm not really a sweet potato and corn kinda gal anyway. The next ones to get a try were tofu, mushroom and spinach pot pies from Vegan about town. These were a lot more down my alley and although I loved the combination of the tofu, mushroom and spinach, the gravy was not thick and strongly flavoured enough to totally win me over.

My next trial was using the tofu, spinach and mushroom combination again substituting the sauce/gravy from the cauliflower and mushroom pot pie with black olive crust recipe in Veganomicon. When the sauce was almost ready, I had a taste and wasn't pleased. There was a distinct floury taste and the dried thyme was a tad overpowering. I can't recall what was hastily added in an attempt to make these more appealing but I certainly wasn't going to stick to the recipe. They turned out to be passable in the end but not something I would repeat. 

As the Vegan about town recipe was my favorite of the three I decided to remake it with slight adaptations. They turned out to be the best so far as the gravy was thick and delicious and had a lovely flavour. They will be repeated this way again, however I would still like to experiment with more pot pie fillings...

Tofu, mushroom and spinach pot pies (Adapted from Vegan about town)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried majoram
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
250g firm tofu, pressed and cut into small cubes
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
4 large portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon gravy powder
1/2 cup water
100g baby spinach leaves
salt and pepper, to taste
1 puff pastry sheet
soy milk, for brushing
sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 200C. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the leek until softened. Add the garlic and stir for a minute, then stir through the dried basil, oregano, majoram and smoked paprika. 

Add the tofu cubes and mix gently until well covered. Stir through the tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have softened and begin to release their juices. Mix the gravy powder with water until it becomes a smooth paste and add the paste to the saucepan along with the soy sauce. Stir continuously until the gravy thickens then add the spinach leaves and cook until wilted. If the gravy is too thick, add a little more water. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into 4 ramekins until each one is 3/4 full. Place each ramekin on the puff pastry sheet and cut out a circle of dough around the base. Cover the mixture in each ramekin with a puff pastry circle, then brush with soy milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the pastry has browned. 


  1. Love the idea of pot pies - especially now it is getting colder

    I only have one pot pie recipe that I got from a housemate who had the recipe from before he went vegetarian - he adapted a chicken pie using tempeh instead of chicken - the recipe is still not vegan but it might work with some tofu and nutritional yeast - I love how your pot pies have smoked paprika - that is something I will have to try

  2. I think baking pastry might be my favourite thing about winter. :-)

  3. Thanks Johanna - the tempeh pot pie recipe looks great and tempeh is something I want to start cooking with. I love smoked paprika so much and am always finding ways to incorporate it into food.

    Cindy - baking (and eating) pastry is one of those things that makes the cold weather more bearable. And hearty warming soups of course, they are right up there for me too!

  4. I should try making these again some time. Interested to try your modifications.

  5. Yum :) I experimented with pot pies for the first time earlier this year, and found them very fun to make. Your recipe is seriously impressive, so it may be next on my list when I dig out the ramekins again!

  6. Danni, thanks for the inspiration with these pot pies - tofu, mushrooms and spinach is a winning combination for me!

    Thanks Kari, I'm really enjoying making pot pies and find them pretty easy to put together. Hope you get around to trying these ones at some stage...