A Regular Column by Liina Laufer
Devanistha’s Cheesy Vegetable Pie
This is my mother Devanistha’s classic savory holiday pie — a warm, cheesy pie that is filling and comforting on a cold winter night, and reheats perfectly for a breakfast of leftovers. A great alternative to pot pie or quiche for vegetarians such as myself who avoid eggs but love cheese.
To start, make a batch of White Sauce. (See recipe below.) I also like to pre-bake my crust for about 10 minutes before filling to keep it crispy.
- 1 pie crust (make your own or get a premade crust)
- vegetables of choice: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, yams, parsnips, squash, cauliflower, peas, etc. (Avoid juicy vegetables such as zucchini or tomato.)
- 1 batch White Sauce:
- 1 cube (1/2 cup) butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 T white flour
- 3 1/2 – 4 cups milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated cheese
Wash, pare, and peel vegetables of choice to fill up a pie crust. For example, I recently made a pie with 3 carrots, 3 potatoes, and a small head of broccoli. You can use an empty pie tin to measure out the vegetables, keeping in mind that they will compress after steaming.
Steam the vegetables until tender and drain well, and then mix into White Sauce. Pour mixture into pie crust. Top with grated cheese. Bake in oven at 350ºF until cheese is golden and bubbly. Usually takes 1-2 hours. Serve hot.
For a vegan pie, use an oil-based crust and make white sauce with oil and water instead of butter and milk. Top with a crust, ground cracker crumbs or chips, or vegan cheese.
This white sauce can be used in pies and as a gravy.
Melt the butter in the bottom of a saucepan (use a pan with a sturdy bottom so that the heat is distributed evenly). Just as it dissolves, stir in the flour. Let it cook, stirring, for about one minute. Before it starts to brown, turn off stove and add the milk. Stir immediately with a wire whisk until all lumps are gone. (If you can’t get all the lumps out, you can use an immersion blender or put the sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.) Turn on stove again and bring to a boil, stirring constantly all the way to the bottom of the pan. Take off the heat.
Vegan White Sauce: Use oil instead of butter and replace milk with water.
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