Sunday, February 22, 2009

Root Vegetable Pie with Rosemary Biscuit Topping (a vegetarian Sunday night dinner)

I’ll admit it: I am an omnivore through and through and to me, there is nothing like popping a tender morsel of slowly stewed beef into my mouth on a cold winter evening. That said, this pie, which is actually more like a stew, is the epitome of winter comfort food, with savory root vegetables baked in a creamy sauce and topped with steaming rosemary biscuits. It certainly hits the spot.

Speaking of beef stew, I only just realized that my previous post never actually included the recipe for the beef stew. I apologize from the bottom of my heart, and have edited the post to include the important recipe. It will never happen again. Probably.

Now, on to yummier things: when I saw this recipe in the March issue of Bon Appétit magazine, my eyes were immediately drawn to the tempting photograph of golden rosemary biscuits blossoming out of a baking dish. I knew I would be making this recipe in the near future, and I did, with great success. Well, great success despite some ambiguous instructions on BA’s part. This recipe isn’t particularly complicated, but it certainly isn’t as simple as the beef stew recipe, and then it doesn’t help that BA has a tendency to be a little vague with their instructions. I’ll get to that.

First, let’s get our ingredients together: vegetarian bouillon base (I love the Better Than Bouillon brand—I’ve only tried their vegetarian one, but it’s really wonderful), carrots, celery root, parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, dried porcini mushrooms, butter, onion, garlic, rosemary, flour, cream, dry Sherry, and parsley. Got it? Good.Now, prepare your vegetable bouillon, and simmer your vegetables and mushrooms in it for about seven minutes.Here’s where I nearly blew it: once your veggies are tender, you drain them, BUT you also want to reserve the bouillon, so don’t drain it into the sink! Do it over a bowl or another pot—you want to hang on to both your veggies and the bouillon they were simmered in.

Now, melt the butter in the pot and sauté the onion in it until it begins to brown.
Mix in the garlic and rosemary, and stir it for a couple of minutes. Then, stir in the flour and let it cook for another minute.Still have your broth? Good. Whisk it in, and then whisk in the cream and the Sherry. Cook until the sauce thickens and reduces, whisking from time to time.Mix the vegetables and the parsley in, season to taste with salt and pepper …
…and transfer to a buttered baking dish.Now, you’re ready to start baking, and to also start being confused by BA’s directions. So, here’s the deal: BA says to bake at 400 F for 50 minutes. Then, it moves on to the directions for the biscuits, which are to prepare the batter, and then drop the dough by spoonfuls onto the hot pie filling. Then, you bake it for 45 minutes. So, does that mean to bake the filling for 50 minutes, and then another 45 after the biscuit topping has been added? Or do they want us to add the biscuit dough five minutes after starting the filling, and bake it for a total of 50 minutes? I’m thinking the former, since it seems a little ridiculous to put the filling in the oven for five minutes, and then pull it out to add the biscuits, and then pop it back in for 45. However, it also seems a little ridiculous to me to bake a pie for almost two hours when everything in it (other than the topping) is already cooked. So what to do? The magazine didn’t contain any answers, so here’s what I did …

I popped the filling into the oven for about twenty minutes at 400 F. Meanwhile, I worked on the biscuit batter.After that twenty minutes, the filling looked like this:I decided it was biscuit time. So the biscuit dough was dropped onto the filling by tablespoonfuls.
Then, back into the oven it all went for another 45 minutes, and you know what? It turned out great. The filling was hot, thick, and creamy; the biscuits were golden on the outside, and hot and fluffy on the inside.
Maybe BA wanted me to bake the pie for the entire 95 minutes, but 65 worked out perfectly for me. Try it yourself and let me know what you think. The recipe is available online.


  1. I love dumplings!!! Thinking how ready I'll be for some of this yummy food by the end of April :) Can't wait!