Thanksgiving Harvest Pot Pie

Pot pies are usually considered down-home comfort food, but this version is elegant enough to serve as the Thanksgiving main attraction: golden cheddar crust envelops a creamy, tasty blend of harvest squash, potatoes, and protein-rich tofu, along with other vegetables, all in a lovely sauce enlivened by fresh parsley and a little red wine.

You can decorate the top of the pie with little leaf-shapes cut from pastry, and youíll have yourself a delicious and beautiful way to express your gratitude at Thanksgiving or any time.

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped unpeeled red potatoes
1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup sliced celery
1 large carrot, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets, chopped
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 pound tofu, cubed
2 teaspoons tamari

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoons tamari
1/2 cup dry red white
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 tablespoon milk

1. In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, potatoes, squash, and thyme. When onion is translucent, add celery, carrots, and broccoli and cook until vegetables are just tender. Lower heat to simmer and add water, salt, nutmeg, cayenne, and peas, stirring well. Simmer 2 more minutes, then turn off heat.

2. Preheat oven to 450F. Add oil to a frying pan and brown tofu on all sides over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. When tofu is nicely browned, add tamari, stir quickly, and add to vegetables in soup pot.

3. To make sauce, add butter to pan used to fry tofu. When butter is melted, add flour and cook until lightly browned. Add water slowly, whisking constantly, until smooth. Stir in yeast and tamari, then add to vegetables along with red wine and parsley.

4. In a mixing bowl or food processor, mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter or pulse with processor until mixture resembles coarse meal, then add cheese and stir. In a separate bowl, combine egg and buttermilk, then add to flour mixture. Knead dough on a floured work surface just enough to hold together, then cut into 2 pieces.

5. Butter a pretty baking dish. Roll out one piece of dough and place in bottom of dish, with the dough coming up the sides of the dish. Add filling. Roll out remaining dough and fit over top of dish, trimming any excess, and crimping edges together.

6. Beat egg yolk and milk together and brush over top of pie. Prick or slash top. (Leaves cut from any leftover dough may be added at this point, and brushed with egg and milk mixture.)

7. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Serves 4.

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Inspired by Horn of the Moon Cookbook, by Ginny Callan (Harper and Row, 1987).