tempeh and eggplant pot pie

I have sailed the world, beheld its wonders, and somewhere along the line lost two precious sets of ramekins.

Now I can only ruminate on which port it was, which crossing of goodbye or hello saw the loss of my irreplaceable ramekin sets.

The story of the forgotten bakeware ends bittersweetly: I didn’t find my ramekins, but rather, a ceramic baking dish that would function, for now at least.

After so much uprooting, I sought a roof over my head and I sought pot pie.

But I used a biscuit crust, because they’re fluffy and quick and, actually, the recipe happened to call for it. This isn’t the pot pie you ate at the family dinner table in the 90’s made primarily from butter, salt, and chicken. This is a vegan health wonder, with enough earthy grounding flavors to make it comfort food and subtle brightness and depth from the fennel and balsamic vinegar.

If you chance to meet a few aubergines at your market this week, I highly encourage you to try this recipe, with whichever type of baking dish may be available to you.

Tempeh and Eggplant Pot Pie
from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Vegan Table

For filling:

  • 2 cups (165 g) diced eggplant (1 small globe eggplant or 2 Asian eggplants)
  • 1 package (8 ounces, or 225 g) tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 small-size Vidalia onion, chopped (I liked the sweet onion in this recipe, any yellow onion would be fine)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) fennel seeds
  • 4 artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 can or jar ( 15 ounces, or 420 g) pure tomato sauce, preferably organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the biscuit dough:

  • 1 2/3 cups (210 g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) baking powder (look for aluminum-free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) nondairy milk (any version of cow’s milk works, too)
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Coat 4-6 individual ramekins, or a 9-inch (23 cm) square/circular/rectangular baking pan with oil.

To make filling, steam eggplant and tempeh for 10 to 15 minutes, until eggplant is soft and translucent. At the same time, add olive oil to a large-size sauté pan and cook onion and celery until soft. Add fennel seeds and vinegar, and sauté for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, artichoke hearts, and cooked tempeh and eggplant. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare biscuit dough. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, and stir together. Pour in milk and olive oil, and mix just until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. The dough should be lumpy and sticky, not smooth like cake batter.

Remove sauté pan from heat, and season filling with salt and pepper, to taste.

Divide filling evenly among prepared ramekins, or pour all into large baking dish. Drop dough by small spoonfuls on top of each ramekin. Carefully spread dough with back of spoon so it evenly covers filling. Bake pot pies until crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

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