I'd like to stay under the covers in my pj's today.
Why? Because, baby, it's cold outside!
The howling wind kept me up for half the night and the single digit temperatures make me want to crawl into a cozy place and close my eyes. But that's just not me. The sun is shining. Let the wind rattle the windowpanes. I can always go into the kitchen and create a little more warmth.
Here's the comfort food of the day. Since I live in New England, I always have a lot of root vegetables at this time of year--some still left from holiday marketing--so this pie is a no-brainer. Unless you are diligent and make your own stock, skip the box of vegetable stock; most of it tastes like dishwater. You should have plenty of flavor from all the vegetables. Or you could use chicken stock if you are not vegetarian.
Curl up by the fire if you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, and give thanks for the new year, the little increase of light every day, and the old-fashioned goodness of a pot pie.
Winter vegetable pie recipe
3 large yellow (Yukon gold) potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
3/4 cup milk, heated until hot
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut up
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or scallion tops
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup (4 ounces) grated cheddar
Ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, a generous pinch of salt, and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer.
2. Drain the potatoes and return them to the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 1 minute to dry them slightly. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes while slowly adding the hot milk. Add the butter. With a wire whisk, beat vigorously until fluffy. Blend in the chives or scallions, parsley, and cheddar. Add salt and pepper.
Butter (for the dish)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large parsnips, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch lengths
4 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 celery root cut into 1-inch pieces
2 turnips cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups (8 or 9 ounces) frozen pearl onions
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
5 cups water or homemade vegetable stock
1. Set the oven at 425 degrees. Butter a 2-quart baking dish or 6 ramekins.
2. In a small bowl, thoroughly blend the butter and flour until smooth.
3. In a large, flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add the parsnips, carrots, celery root, turnips, frozen onions, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock. Cook, stirring often, until it comes to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still have some bite. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the baking dish.
5. Add the remaining 4 cups stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Whisk in the butter and flour until smooth. Simmer for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the vegetables in the baking dish.
6. Distribute large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes over the vegetables. Spread with a fork and, if you like, make a wave pattern with the tines of the fork.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the top is golden.
©2009-2018 Sally Pasley Vargas. Writing and photography, all rights reserved.