Vegetable pot pies topped with sweet potato biscuits

November 23, 2010 § 31 Comments

We had a gathering of friends last night to give a little thanks and have a festive potluck before everyone voyages off to their various destinations for the big day.  A little Thanksgiving pre-gaming, if you will.  And it was exactly what you would hope for from a Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving, full of good company and good cheer, and no shortage of mildly inappropriate jokes and misuse of acronyms.  Standard, wholesome fare.

A dear friend, who we actually celebrated Turkey day with last year (the year when Joel made a really concerted effort to land himself in the emergency room through the cavalier use of a oyster shucker – those pesky little buggers are hard to open!), told me that this year she was going to a vegetarian Thanksgiving, hosted by her fabulous friend/downstairs neighbor/landlady.  It had been a hard decision, especially given she was also invited to a party across the river where a beautifully brined turkey – and things with bacon in them – would be waiting.  But, we are both people who value the importance of home and place, and I can definitely understand why she came down on the side of staying for the party in her own home.  And, she explained, when you really reflect on it, Thanksgiving is not so much about the turkey (mine certainly isn’t!  I don’t much care for turkey, though last year I splurged on a delicious and flavorful heritage breed turkey. And had to sell my first born child for it.  Also my left arm.) as it is about the idea of a meal planned with a great deal of care and intentionality.

I loved that point! It’s so true.  What makes the Thanksgiving meal special, besides it being a time hopefully dedicated to giving thanks with no reference to creed or nationality or status or anything, is that it is a meal that takes a lot of time, and planning, and personal investment.  It is taking a meal and turning it into a gift, and you can do that with or without a bird involved.  (I’m not gonna lie, no bacon is a harder sell 😉 ).  And there are so many beautiful vegetarian options that capture the flavors of the season and convey the sense of warmth and caring, from squash to mushrooms, to Brussels sprouts, to creamed corn, and everything au gratin.  And pie!  Thank goodness pie is vegetarian.

Anyhow, I think these lovely pot pies would fit nicely into the mix.  They may not be a busy weeknight meal, as they have several steps and a lot of chopping, but don’t be scared off because each step in itself is perfectly simple!  And it’s so worth it when you dive in for a bite full of deep flavors, creamy sauce, and the flaky buttery biscuits – with just a hint of sweet potato – that crown them in ‘heaven’s they’re tasty!’ glory.  (And when you eat them, you don’t miss the meat at all, but if you wished you could certainly add in a bit of chopped cooked chicken, or flaked salmon and they would be just as delicious.)  They are beautiful but unpretentious, like you would hope a Thanksgiving meal, or any cozy winter supper, would be.

Vegetable Pot Pies (serves 8 ) adapted from a recipe in a 2007 Food & Wine magazine

  • About 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1-2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, or celery root, or turnip, peeled and cut into half inch pieces (really instead of these, you can use whatever combination of seasonal vegetables you please, as long as you have somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 cups, chopped, total)
  • A whole lot of olive oil (around ¼ or 1/3 cup)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A couple tsp. of thyme
  • A tsp. or so of sage
  • One large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbs. of butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups milk (I actually used goat’s milk, which turned out great!)
  • A big splash white wine or sherry
  • A tsp. of thyme and a pinch each of sage and nutmeg
  • Unbaked sweet potato biscuits (see below)
  • optional: a cup of cooked and cubed chicken or salmon
  1. Heat your oven to 425F.  Toss all of the chopped vegetables and half of the chopped onion with the olive oil a couple tsp. of thyme, one tsp. of sage, and several big shakes of salt and pepper.  Spread them in a large roasting pan, put them into the oven and roast – stirring once or twice during the process – until they are soft and have gotten brown cooked spots on them, around 45 minutes, or so.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  (But leave the oven on.)
  2. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat, until it’s melted and starting to bubble.  Stir in the remaining half of the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until softened and transluscent.  Stir in the flour until it is all mixed in with the butter and onion and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then, whisk in the milk a little bit at a time, stirring vigorously to avoid lumps.  (Say no to lumpy sauce!)
  3. Then stir in the white wine, the remaining smaller amounts of thyme and sage and the nutmeg along with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about ten minutes.  At this point, add more salt and pepper to taste.  Then, stir sauce and roasted vegetables together.
  4. Either spoon the vegetables into 8 individual pot pie dishes (large ramekins) or into a large baking dish.  Put an unbaked sweet potato biscuit on top of each dish – or if using a large baking dish, arrange the biscuits on top to cover it, slightly overlapping one another.  Pop the pot pies into the oven and bake until they are bubbling and the biscuits are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.  (You can also make the vegetables with sauce ahead of time and refrigerate them, then just warm them up to room temp and spoon them into your baking dishes when you’re ready to bake).

Sweet potato biscuits (makes 8)

  • 1 medium-small sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 ¾ cups regular flour
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 7 Tbs. cold regular butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  1. In a pot, cover the sweet potato with water,  bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain the potato well, then smash it up with a fork.  Reserve ¾ cup of it and let it cool (you can use the rest of it for something else, for example eating it for a snack as you cook). 
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like a coarse sand.  Alternatively you can just pulse all these ingredients together in a food processor.  Stir in the buttermilk and ¾ cup sweet potato mash until all the ingredients are just combined.  Scoop the dough out into a ball, and knead it a couple of times on a well floured surface. 
  3. Then, roll it to about ¼ inch thick and cut it into 8 biscuits – you can make squares or use a 4 inch circle cutter.  Put the unbaked biscuits on top of your pot pies before baking.  Or, if you just want biscuits, bake them in a 425F oven for 15 minutes, until golden.

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§ 31 Responses to Vegetable pot pies topped with sweet potato biscuits

  • Tasha says:

    🙂 I love the way you write. And I love the way you cook! Those pot pies are so beautiful. I am seriously drooling over that perfect crust, it looks so tender and flaky and crumbly – all at once! I love everything about pot pies but ESPECIALLY the crust…is there anything better than a buttery hot lid holding in a steaming bowl of perfection? I’m hungry now.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you Tasha! And I would have to say no, there’s pretty much nothing better than a buttery hot lid on a bowl of steaming goodness!

  • Hannah says:

    I need to make these!! I bet you didn’t know I have been blog stalking you lol I’m horrid about commenting, but I love the way you write and photograph 🙂

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Haha, I’m so flattered! And the sentiment is completely mutual with regards to loving your writing and photography!

  • Janelle says:

    Hi! I found you through foodgawker, and tried this out for lunch today. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (you know…. if you’re a cook, you have to change things around), but the herbs in the pot pie and the sweet potato biscuits were phenomenal. My husband and I like to rate our dinners on a scale of 1-5 stars for fun, and this was a unanimous 5 stars. A Happy Boxing Day lunch, indeed!

  • Just found this recipe through Gojee and am drooling! Just delicious.

  • Sam Cornwell says:

    This is my next dinner!

    I like how your 8 ) turned into 8)

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      HeeHee, so it did! Maybe I should fix it…or maybe I’ll just leave it! Who doesn’t want to have a smiley face wearing sunglasses around?!

  • June S says:

    Could you be more specific on the amount of sweet potato? I don’t know your defination of medium or small. How many cups would be of benefit to me.


    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Hi June, the size of the sweet potato just has to be big enough to give you 3/4 of a cup of mashed sweet potato. You measure that out to use in the baking, so that’s what needs to be exact. I hope that’s helpful!

      • June S says:

        Yes, that is exactly what I need. I always err on the too large, too much side. I can’t wait for sweet potato season (read season to mean when the price gets really cheap)

      • June S says:

        Just realized that I did sloppy reading…you had the measurement I wanted in the instructions….when will I learn to read a receipe to the end before commenting. Sorry

        Well the recipe is printed and sweets will be on sale soon….love sweet potatoes

      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Haha, no worries! I do the same thing ALL the time!!

  • Sarah says:

    This looks SO delicious. Love that they’re veggie, and love that sweet potato in the biscuit topping. Found you via gojee! 🙂

  • Jessica says:

    Just finished eating! I also took a few liberties, but it was absolutely delicious. I will be making the biscuits by themselves also, they were so good!

  • I will definitely be making this in the near future! Great recipe, thanks!

  • […]  Mini Veggie Pot Pies with a Sweet Potato Biscuit on top from Five & Spice […]

  • Sarah says:

    Hi Emily,
    I’d like to try this recipe but want to make it ahead of time so that I can just pop one in the oven when I get home from work. Can I mix up the biscuit dough ahead of time? If I can, would I assemble the individual potpie when I get home, or can I put them all together ahead of time? Or, do I need to mix up the biscuit dough then immediately bake it? Is it better to bake it with the biscuit then re-heat it the evening I want to eat it?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Hi Sarah! Great questions. Because biscuits are leavened by baking powder, you can’t really mix up the dough ahead of time unless you make the biscuits, cut them, and then freeze them flat on a baking sheet (once they’re frozen, then you can transfer them to a ziplock bag). Then you would bake them up directly from frozen (don’t defrost) but the baking time would have to increase by about 10-15 minutes. What you could also do is prepare the pot pie fillings and refrigerate those. Then mix together the dry ingredients for the biscuits in one bowl, and have the buttermilk and cooked sweet potato mixed together separately and keep both of these in the fridge. Then, while the oven is preheating in the evening, you could cut the butter into the dry ingredients, stir in the buttermilk and sweet potato, roll out the biscuits and put them on the pot pies to bake. Also, we did have leftovers and heated them up for a couple of days, and I thought they tasted fine, though the biscuit bottoms got a titch soggy. So, you could just fully pre-make the potpies and then re-heat it in the evening. Sorry for the long winded response! I hope this helps.

  • […] I love the idea of individual sized meals. I think they add so much character, not to mention, they help tremendously with portion control. I saw this adorable (can food be adorable?) recipe for individual pot pies on the blog 5 and Spice! […]

  • timogrady says:

    These looks gorgeous! I’ve got a couple of sweet potato’s in the fridge and I think these are going to be on the menu this evening.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • These look beautiful! Trying it out this weekend.

  • […] & Beans – Rick’s night to cook. My man’s getting ambitious! Wednesday: Vegetable Pot Pies Topped with Sweet Potato Biscuits Thursday: Gumbo (with this recipe as a guide) Friday: Roast Cod with Crisp Potatoes Rate this: […]

  • […] & Beans – Rick’s night to cook. My man’s getting ambitious! Wednesday: Vegetable Pot Pies Topped with Sweet Potato Biscuits Thursday: Gumbo (with this recipe as a guide) Friday: Roast Cod with Crisp […]

  • Bharati Naik says:

    It’s delicious…. I will definetly make this soon…

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