Meatless Mondays: Root Vegetable Potpie

You won't miss the chicken in this comfort-food classic.

root vegetable recipes

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006 the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.

My final winter CSA share pickup was this past weekend, and boy, was it generous in the root vegetable department. Sure, there were a few leeks and some on-the-cob popcorn, not to mention baggies of beautiful baby greenhouse greens—but mostly it contained root veggies. Fourteen pounds of them. I’ve got more carrots, parsnips, celery root, and turnips than a small family could eat.

This winter I’ve been roasting and pureeing these staples weekly—an easy side dish, but now that I’m down to the last of them I really want to make these roots the star. So, instead of giving them their typical supporting role, it’s time to cast the spotlight in their direction.

My part of the country has a deep tradition of potpie. The Pennsylvania Dutch lean heavily on chicken and egg noodles as the base, while a traditional Philadelphia recipe has the unappetizing (yet strangely appealing) title Philadelphia Clam Pie. But for my last winter hurrah I’ll sauté an array of roots and lace them together with a rich vegetable stock, topped with a satisfying and decadent sheet of puff pastry.

Root Vegetable Potpie

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large leek

3 large carrots, chopped

2 large parsnips, cored and chopped

2 turnips, peeled and chopped

1 celery root, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon whole milk or heavy cream

1 (8 oz.) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Thinly slice the white and pale part of the leek, then wash in cold water and drain. Save the leek green for stock.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot, then stir in the leek white and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and celery root along with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are browned and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir together the stock and the cornstarch, then whisk the stock into the skillet. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Divide the vegetable mixture between 4 (8 oz.) ramekins.

Whisk together the yolk and milk along with a pinch of salt. Brush the lip of each ramekin with a little of the egg wash. Cut the puff pastry into 4 squares.

Place a puff pastry square over each ramekin, pressing the pastry onto the ramekins. Brush the pastry with egg wash, and cut a small steam hole in each.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the pastry is golden and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the potpies cool slightly before serving.

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