A Thanksgiving Celebration Pie of Autumn Vegetables

November 04, 2009|By LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER / Scripps Howard News Service

Dear Lynne: My fiancee hates making people uncomfortable, so when she's a guest she doesn't say anything about not eating meat.

The thing that really upsets her is a whole cooked animal, so Thanksgivings are tough. This is the turnaround Thanksgiving; it's our first as hosts and cooks, and I want her to be the queen for a change.

Could you help me with a no-meat celebration dish that won't feel like a sacrifice to our friends? They love her, too, and say they're cool with no turkey, but if truth be told, I know they're anticipating grim eats. Thank you. -- In Love with A Gorgeous Soul

Dear In Love: Who wouldn't fall for someone who wants the beloved to feel like a queen. I guarantee that grim is not happening at your table this year.


For all who think bird is essential to the day, try this: Imagine a great deep-dish pie of oven-glazed vegetables and herbs with enough garlic to make everyone close friends. This falls into the favorite-fallback-party-dish category for me. I think she will be pleased.

Don't take the vegetable list as a hard-and-fast dictate. Cauliflower, parsnip, celery, broccoli, cabbage and beans could each or all go into the pan. Just remember to balance earthy tastes with sweet and rich ones like onion, new potato, yam or carrot. Cut harder vegetables into smaller pieces for even cooking.

You can make the crust a day ahead and roast the vegetables a day or two ahead. Warm the vegetables before baking with the crust. The pie is good hot from the oven, or just warm.

Serve up the pie with cranberry sauce, cornbread -- maybe even roasted chestnuts.


o Serves 8, and doubles easily.

Serve with a fruity Zinfandel or syrah, or a not-too-sweet cider.

The Vegetables:

3 medium onions, cut into six chunks each
3 small unpeeled red-skin potatoes, halved
1 medium rutabaga or large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
1 large unpeeled yam, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved or thinly sliced, depending on size
2 big handfuls spinach or chard leaves, torn
2 to 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
4 branches fresh thyme, or 1 generous teaspoon dry thyme
20 fresh or whole dried sage leaves
20 fresh basil leaves, or 1 heaping tablespoon dry basil
3 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar and dry red wine
About 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 large cloves garlic, halved

Set one oven rack high up and a second toward the bottom of the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the vegetables, herbs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil (enough to lightly coat them) with salt and pepper. Do not add garlic.

Spread the vegetables on two large, shallow roasting pans. Roast about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning several times during cooking for even browning. Halfway through cooking, switch pans' positions and add the garlic. Vegetables are done when they are golden and easily pierced with a knife. Cool them down, wrap and refrigerate until ready to do the pie.

The Crust:

1-1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose unbleached flour
Generous 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick, plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into big chunks
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water, or as needed


1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
About 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 egg yolks, beaten in a small bowl (optional)

To make the crust, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor or large bowl. Cut in butter with rapid pulse in processor, or rub between your fingertips until butter pieces are the size of peas. Add 4 tablespoons of water. Pulse just until dough gathers into clumps, or toss with a fork until moistened. If dry, pulse or toss in another 1 to 2 tablespoons water. The dough should be in ragged clumps, but come together easily when you pinch some together. If it still seems dry, add another tablespoon ice water with just a few pulses.

Gently gather the dough into a ball, wrap and chill 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.

Select a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the vegetables in a mound. Measure the dish, then roll out the dough so it is no more than 1/8-inch thick and at least 5 inches larger than the dish. Put it on a foil-covered pizza pan or cookie sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours.

About 50 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 400. Oil the inside and the rim of the baking dish with olive oil. Warm the vegetables in the oven. Pour the broth or water into the baking dish, then pile in the vegetables.

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