I didn’t intend to make this butternut squash pot pie. A couple weeks ago, right in the middle of third (or fourth) blizzard, Josh was stuck in Baltimore and I was alone in the apartment in need of a project. I wanted to make pie crust – a gluten free and vegan pie crust – and after some searching, I came across this recipe. The pie crust called for vegan butter and vegan shortening, neither of which I usually buy, but included recipes to make both from scratch. Made with a coconut oil base and without weird ingredients, I decided to give both the butter and shortening recipes a try. The butter surprisingly tasted similar to real butter and the shortening looked convincing, so I continued on to the pie crust. The recipe calls for regular wheat flour, but I used gluten free all-purpose, cup for cup. I was skeptical of the reviews that said the pie crust was “flaky, tender and buttery” and that the dough “rolls like a dream,” but the science was explained and I decided to give it a shot.
As those of you who are gluten free and/or vegan know, many things that claim to “taste like the real thing” are lying. But this pie crust is legit. Roasted butternut squash goes with anything in my book (as seen here, here, and here), and leeks make anything taste comforting to me. The filling for this butternut squash pot pie is extremely forgiving. If you’re vegan, simply substitute the chicken and bacon with chickpeas (as noted in the recipe), more vegetables or even tofu. If you eat meat, other types would be great here too (ground beef, chicken breast, pork – just remember to buy pastured, organic when possible). Leeks, cranberries, sage and thyme give this pot pie a distinctly wintry flavor that will go well with whatever seasonal vegetables you have on hand, so feel free to experiment.
WHY IT’S HEALTHY// Butternut squash pot pie is gluten free, dairy free and vegan (optional). The pie crust is made with coconut oil, a great source of healthy fats in the form of medium chain fatty acids. Butternut squash is full of fiber, potassium, B vitamins and folate. It’s orange hue indicates high levels of beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. Leeks contain a good amount of the flavonoid kaempferol, which may reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases, like cancer. Leeks are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which aids vision and supports the immune system. //
- 1½ cups cubed butternut squash, peeled and roasted (400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 slices bacon cut into ¼” pieces (vegan: omit bacon)
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs (vegan: 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced into rounds
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small bunch kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
- ½ cup dried cranberries or dried prunes (I used a mix)
- ¼ cup gluten free all-purpose flour (in addition to what you'll need for the pie crust recipe, below)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (vegan: 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth)
- 1 egg (vegan: 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk)
- 1 double gluten free pie crust (I used this one substituting regular flour with gluten free all-purpose - great, flaky results. I used the savory version, omitting the mushroom, onion and garlic powders.)
- Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375°.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon, stirring often, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook in same skillet with the bacon grease until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Add a splash of water to skillet. Cover, reduce heat, and cook until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Add 1 tablespoon (vegan: 2 tablespoons) of olive oil to skillet on medium heat and then add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water and add garlic and chopped kale, cover, and cook until leeks are very soft, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Shred chicken (vegan: add chickpeas) and add to leeks along with thyme leaves, chopped sage, cranberries, reserved bacon (vegan: omit) and reserved roasted butternut squash.
- Melt remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in ¼ cup flour and cook, whisking constantly, about 1 minute. Whisk in broth, adding a little at a time, until smooth. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water and add to the saucepan. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5–7 minutes. Mix sauce into leek mixture; season with salt and pepper and let cool.
- If making 4 mini pot pies (see notes), divide the pie dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll out 1 ball of dough on a lightly floured surface into a circle. Transfer to a 3” mini pie tin and trim any access dough that may hang down. Repeat for remaining 3 mini pie tins.
- Spoon filling into each of the 4 pie tins (you may have extra filling) and then roll out remaining 4 balls of dough to cover each pie. Trim any excess flour and then use the back of a fork to crimp the edges of the bottom and top pie crust together around the circumference of each tin.
- Cut a few vents on top and brush with egg (vegan: brush with non-dairy milk).
- Bake until crust is golden brown, 50–60 minutes. Let pie cool slightly before serving.
Inspired by Bon Appétit.. Pie crust by Vegan Baking.