Root Vegetable Pie

I suppose every marriage has its bone of contention, the troubling topic of which any discussion leads to argument and upset. In a moment of confession, here’s mine: my husband does not like pot pie.

Oh the shock, horror, and dismay when John told me he does not like pot pie. His reason? Some shabby claim of deep-rooted, childhood trauma from when frozen pot pies were left for him and his sisters when his parents would go out for the evening. He claims that he’s never liked the combination of meat and cream sauce, the soggy crust, and (in my opinion, a sign that he’s grasping at straws) having to wait five minutes after cooking to dig in. Personally, I don’t understand how anyone can hate a flaky buttery crust that hides the warm comfort within, but for John’s sake, I tend to avoid making pot pie unless my craving for one is unbearable, or in this case, when I’m handed a bunch of root vegetables and can think of no palatable better way to use them.

For my root vegetable pie, I started with a rutabaga, purple carrots, parsnips, and a red onion from the CSA and roasted them in the oven along with a mix of wild mushrooms and some fresh herbs. The vegetables got sweet and nutty from the roasting process. I then made a creamy sauce spiked with a dry Marsala wine. Then, to make this pie more enticing to John, (call it the sugar to help the medicine go down, I suppose) I added crisp pieces of bacon.

Personally, I can’t think of a more enticing cold weather dish. The crust was perfectly golden and flaky, surrounding a filling of sweet and nutty vegetables that were softly napped in a creamy sauce, popping with the crunch of the salty bacon. As further proof of this pie’s deliciousness? No complaints and dare I say, eager consumption of seconds from the pot pie’s biggest detractor.

Note: To make a vegetarian version, simply eliminate the bacon. This pie makes 6-8 servings.

  • 1 serving of your favorite flaky pie crust recipe such as this or this (minus the sugar)
  • 3 small purple carrots, diced
  • 2 medium parsnips, diced
  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced
  • 12 oz mix of wild mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, chanterelles, etc. but not white button)
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon each fresh rosemary and fresh savory
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon dry Marsala wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • Course sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl mix together the carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, mushrooms, red onion, garlic. Drizzle in the olive oil, half of the rosemary and savory, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix together until vegetables are coated. Spread the vegetables out on a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While vegetables roast, cook and chop the bacon and make the cream sauce. To make the cream sauce, start by making a roux. Melt the butter in a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium low heat. Sprinkle in flour and whisk constantly, cooking for 1 to 1.5 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste. Turn heat up to medium high and whisk in the stock and half and half. Keep whisking until sauce thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining rosemary and savory and the Marsala wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees F. Roll out half of pie crust and fit in a 9 or 10 inch pie plate. Add the vegetables and top with bacon, then pour in the cream sauce. Roll out the other half of the pie crust and top the pie, crimping or fluting the pie crust edges. Brush the top with beaten egg white then sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Cut slits in the pie to vent. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake on the middle rack for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for another 30 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.