Something for Sweetie
It’s a little odd that for all the food I cook and post to this blog, D eats about 20% of it on a good week. Some weeks he won’t touch any of it. Before you go thinking that I must surely be a fraud that makes inedible dishes but takes yummy pictures of them to fool you all, let me explain.
Of D’s many wonderful traits, being an adventurous eater is not one of them. In fact, I’d go so far as to say (lovingly!) that he’s a downright picky eater with a very limited portfolio of vegetables he’ll even try, let alone enjoy with abandon. Here’s a little story to prove my point. He wasn’t a fan of carrots, particularly raw, until about two years ago when we drove up to Montreal and on the way I made a bet with him that he couldn’t eat five (or maybe it was 10?) baby carrots before we got there. Bear in mind this was an eight hour drive! The man sat there and scrapped off the teeny-tiniest little slivers of carrot with his teeth for almost the whole eight hours and eventually had won the bet by the time we got to Montreal. While he was gloating, I was snickering on the inside because I’d finally gotten him to eat raw carrots. Wouldn’t you know, after that, he wasn’t so opposed to carrots. No such luck with the bet I made with him at Ruby Tuesday’s to eat just one bite of the tomato slice on top of his veggie burger. I guess you win some and you loose some.
He does adore green beans and mushrooms though. Ironically, I loath mushrooms and prefer yellow beans. But since D’s been under a lot of stress lately, I wanted to make something special just for him. On Sunday, I bought some beautiful mushrooms from Queen’s Farm at the Headhouse Market. Here’s where I have to shamefully admit that I know nothing about mushroom varieties and thus can’t remember what these two are…shiitakes and oyster possibly?? If you know, please leave a comment to that affect.
Our farm is growing some lovely purple beans for the fall. I didn’t have a chance to showcase them earlier in the summer due to the abundance of all the other crops but now that everything’s slowing down, I thought you might enjoy getting a look at them. I generally use them raw in salads since cooking them saps their purple hue. I hadn’t sautéed them yet though and turns out they didn’t turn green where there was no water to leech their color.
Turnips aren’t on D’s list of preferred veggies, but I snuck them in, knowing he’d mistake our mild Hakurei variety for potatoes, which are quite acceptable to his palate. These turnips also make a lovely mash – I’ll show you how to do it sometime soon. Topping off the dish were some chopped chives, which I initially just added for color. I would strongly recommend the chives as their flavor was a welcome pop of freshness among the flavors of the gravy and cooked vegetables.
D appreciated my special dish just for him, although he complained considerably about the steam that kept rising from his bowl. Admittedly, when baking potpies in single-serving dishes, they need to be allowed to cool for several minutes before serving since the bowl retains a great deal of heat. While I did try a few, my potpie had plenty of time to cool while I poked around and picked out most of the mushrooms.
String Bean Turnip Mushroom Potpie
Inspired by D’s preferred vegetables and watching Christina Cooks
1 T. olive oil
2 T. butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ of a medium onion, diced
2 c. mushrooms (oyster and shiitake work well)
2 c. green or purple beans
2 medium turnips
1 c. shredded real or vegetarian soy chicken
2 c. vegetable broth
1 T. cornstarch
1 T. soy sauce
2 T. water
1 package of pre-rolled pie dough*
salt and pepper to taste
chives to garnish
Begin by cleaning the mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel. Trim off tough stems before dicing. Set aside. Wash beans and turnips. Snap beans into ½ inch segments and dice the turnips. Set aside.
In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, combine olive oil and butter until melted and bubbly. Add garlic and onion. Sauté for a minute before adding the mushrooms. Season with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook for 2 minutes until mushrooms start to soften.
Add beans and turnips to the skillet and sauté for a minute before adding shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper and stir well. Add vegetable broth and bring skillet contents to a boil before lowering the heat to simmer for five minutes. Mix cornstarch, soy sauce and water in a small bowl, being sure to dissolve all of the cornstarch. Add to the skillet and stir well. Bring up to a boil again and cook until thickened – about three minutes. Turn off heat.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Spray two oven-safe individual serving bowls or one large baking dish with non-stick spray. Line with rolled-out pie crust and fill with vegetable mixture. Top with more crust and prick lightly with a sharp knife. Place potpie on a baking sheet to guard against spillage and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until crust is golden and sauce is bubbling around the edges.
Allow to sit for five minutes to cool before serving. Garnish with chopped chives.
* I cheated this time around since it was a weeknight and I had a package of pie crust in the freezer. When I make these again, which I will because they were perfect cold-weather food, I’ll use my mom’s method of making biscut dough for the top crust.
(serves 2 to 3)