03 October 2012

Maggie's Tofu Pot Pie

Long ago, shortly after I went vegan (so, really only 10-ish years ago), my aunt found a cookbook published in 1978 from The Farm, a purposeful vegetarian commune established in 1971. This cookbook is SO quintessentially 70s! There are drawings and pictures and all of them scream 1970. Even the language used in the book is decade-specific. Although the cultural snapshot is great, the recipes are also pretty good, too, especially given that the members of The Farm were vegetarian before many other people were vegetarian. The cookbook has all sorts of recipes that are generally obsolete today (for all but the more hardcore DIYers, anyway), such as making your own wheat gluten (used in seitan, a meaty protein) by washing flour or fermenting your own tempeh (pressed soybeans). We can buy all of this at the store today.

This cookbook is a great reminder that we don't need fancy ingredients to make delicious and wholesome vegan food. In fact, one might argue that the recipes in this cookbook make even more wholesome food because they do NOT rely on fancy ingredients. (This is a conversation for another day.) In the cookbook is a recipe for a tofu pot pie. Although I don't really follow any of their directions (or even use most of the same ingredients), it prompted me to attempt to make a tofu pot pie. In my pot pie, I do use the gravy recipe from this cookbook, which is absolutely delicious and totally makes the pie! 


A word of warning: this is NOT a fast recipe. It's easy, yes, but it takes a while and uses a number of pots and pans. However, it's very much worth it, and feeds Shana and I for three meals.

Maggie's Tofu Pot Pie
Ingredients for Pie/Filling
2 premade pie crusts (refrigerated or frozen) or make your own
1 brick extra firm tofu, cut in to bite-size pieces
2 small onions, chopped
2 medium to large red potatoes, in one inch pieces
2-3 med. carrots, chopped
3/4 c. (or more) frozen peas

Ingredients for "Golden Gravy"
1/2 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. canola oil
1 3/4 c. water
2-3 T. soy sauce
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)

Directions for Pie/Filling
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Partially bake bottom pie crust as per package instructions.
2. Saute onions in a little bit of oil over medium-high heat (you want them to brown just a bit). 
3. In a pot of water, boil potatoes and carrots. When they are almost soft, add the frozen peas to the boiling water. When veggies are done, drain. 
3. While the veggies are cooking, fry the tofu so that it is brown on at least two sides (I use a non stick electric griddle for this - think pancakes). 
4. Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. 

Directions for Gravy
1. Also while the veggies are cooking, add the nutritional yeast and flour to a pan and toast until you can smell them. 
2. Add the oil and stir while it bubbles. This should turn a rich brown. 
3. Add the other ingredients and stir with a whisk until it turns into a gravy consistency. 

Combined Directions
1. Pour sauce over veggies/tofu, then pour into pre-baked crust.
2. Top with other crust, slightly crimp edges.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until top crust is golden.
4. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving (10-15 is better, if possible). 

Helpful Hints
  • If you do not have a saucier, you should get one if you make gravies or sauces with any regularity. The sloping sides are so helpful. 
  • I use pre-made pie shells to save on time. The vegan ones (be careful, a lot of pre-made ones include lard) I use are already in "pie shape." To make my life easier, I leave the top shell out on the counter while I am prepping all the other ingredients. When I first take it out of the freezer, I immediately run my warm hands over the pie plate and then remove the pie plate from the frozen crust.

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