Monday, March 29, 2010

Shortcut vegetable pot pie

Welcome to I'm-going-to-live-on-whatever-I-have-left-in-my-kitchen week!  Knowing that I'll be heading home to my parents' house mid-Friday for the Easter holiday this weekend, I just can't justify going on a huge grocery trip for 5 days worth of meals.  Sure, I have milk and a few eggs left, but it's slim pickins in the pantry and refrigerator.  And I really mean slim... except in the cheese category.  I always have at least three varieties of cheese.  Obsessed much?  No comment.  But what else can I make?

Every now and then I like to starve challenge myself to see what I can do with ingredients that tend to be neglected -- in this case, the bag of mixed vegetables and almost empty package of phyllo dough in the freezer, and a can of cream of chicken soup in the pantry.  You should know that this isn't a traditional pot pie, but, surprisingly (hey, this was an experiment, after all!) equally as delicious and satisfying.  Not enough flour and butter for traditional pie crusts and no chicken.  And it's actually a little healthier without the oodles of butter in the crusts.  By brushing the phyllo dough with oil, the sheets take on a nice golden color and add a light crunch to the creamy vegetable filling.  The condensed soup is a much easier version of the flour-milk-and-butter roux and more flavorful, in my opinion.

And hey, the result was a success -- a creamy, oozing cheater's vegetable pot pie that warmed every bone in my body on a cold and rainy Sunday.  A filling and satisfying lunch to give me the energy I needed to scream my face off at an evening Penguins hockey game.  Yessssssssss :)

Note: If your food stock isn't quite as pathetic as mine and you have some chicken lying around, feel free to bake two chicken breasts, let them cool, and shred them to add chicken to the pot pie when you add the vegetables to the soup.

Tip: If you have leftover onion and don't plan to use it anytime soon, dice it up and put in a freezer bag for later.  Then, whenever you need a little onion for a recipe, just measure out what you need from the freezer bag.  Because the pieces of onion are small, they'll thaw in no time and save you tons of prep time.

Super Shortcut Vegetable Pot Pie
-makes 6 servings

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion (I had a bag of diced onion in the freezer)
1 (16 ounce) bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed (let sit at room temperature, sealed in plastic for 30 minutes)
Olive oil, for brushing

Preheat oven to 400F.  Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, vegetables, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.  Cook until vegetables have thawed (don't worry, they'll soften further in the oven) about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, add condensed soup and lemon juice.  Stir in vegetables until thoroughly mixed.  Pour mixture into 9-inch glass pie plate.  Place two layers of phyllo dough over dish and mixture.  Brush lightly with oil.  Repeat two more times.  Sprinkle top layer of dough that has been brushed with oil with a little salt and pepper.  Using a knife or kitchen scissors, trim dough so it fits over dish.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbling.  Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.  Serve with buttered biscuits or alone, both will warm your tummy just as well.