This time of year, I find myself seeking out traditional comfort foods. Ones that I didn't necessarily grow up with and don't otherwise choose to make or eat, but whose undeniable warmth and heartiness I crave.
I came across this veggie pot pie recipe while I was poking around my Gourmet Today book, and even just thinking about it warmed my heart a little bit. Spending a lazy weekend afternoon in the kitchen chopping vegetables and slowly putting this dish together felt like the ultimate wintry privilege.
If you're a pot pie fan, you'll love this. I can happily recommend the recipe to you knowing that you will be comforted not only by the eating, but also by the process of putting it all together. That is, if you're into that kind of thing!
Veggie Pot Pie with Cheddar Scallion Biscuit Topping
Adapted from Gourmet Today
1 1-pound package frozen pearl onions (not thawed)
2 1/2 cups water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 fresh thyme sprig, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium boiling potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed
For biscuit topping
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
1 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar (about 4 ounces)
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1. Combine pearl onions, water, 1 tablespoon butter, thyme sprig, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 2-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until onions are tender, about 8 minutes. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl; reserve liquid and discard thyme sprig.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 stick of butter in a 12-inch deep heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add chopped vegetables, mushrooms, garlic, chopped thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to brown (bottom of skillet will become crusty), about 15 minutes.
3. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add reserved onion cooking liquid and milk and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Reduce heat to moderate and simmer, covered, until vegetables are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and stir in peas, pearl onions, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish.
5. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheeses and scallions, add buttermilk, and stir just until combined.
6. Drop biscuits onto filling in 12 equal mounds, leaving spaces in between. Place baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.