White bean thyme pot pies are a perfect vegan comfort food: warm, hearty, and filling. Now that we have vegan recipes for them, we are big fans of pot pies in my house. This recipe is not complicated at all, even though it seems to have a lot of ingredients. You just simmer the filling, make a simple 4-ingredient crust, then assemble. Easy as pot pie!
When making the filling, I found that the one pound of carrots in the original recipe from Minimalist Baker was a bit too many for me. While the carrots did sweeten the sauce quite a bit, I felt like they dominated the flavor. So, I’ve included potatoes and you can even add peas, if you’d like. To include peas, just add 1/2 cup of the cut potato and 1/2 cup of frozen or canned peas. If using canned peas, add them at the same time as the 2 cups of broth are poured into the pan, so they won’t get too smashed during the flour coating and roux making process.
The recipe calls for fresh thyme or dry thyme. I’ve been on a fresh thyme kick lately. The fresh herb has lasted a surprisingly long time in the fridge, which is helpful. It makes a pretty garnish, too! If you can use fresh thyme, you should. Otherwise, the dried thyme will also add delicious flavor. I have lived a lifetime using dried herbs and they’ve never let me down.
The original recipe also calls for 1/2 cup of white wine added to the filling when first thickening the sauce. I just used 1/2 cup of the veggie broth, since I’m not partial to the flavor added by wine in a sauce. If you want to use wine, add it in after tossing the sauteed vegetables in flour. Let thicken slightly, then add the remaining 3 cups of veggie broth.
When I’ve made pot pies in the past, I’ve turned to a frozen puff pastry for the crust. Puff pastry is fine, but I think you’ll appreciate the crust in this recipe more. I find the puff pastry can be a bit greasy, and this crust isn’t. You get a real crust flavor from this one and it’s easy to make. But, if you need to save time and put these pot pies together quickly, thawing out a puff pastry works great and looks just as fabulous.
Making the crust, I used all 7 tablespoons of cold water. You might find that a dough forms for you after just a few tablespoons. Once the dough forms, stop adding water at that point and roll out the dough. If you aren’t familiar with cutting in butter, it is just what it sounds like. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or in school we were taught to use two butter knives held side by side – a fork is easier) you simply cut through the butter, forcing it down into the flour, coating it. You want all the butter pieces to be cut into small pieces, each smaller than a pea. The tinier bits of butter will combine with the flour and will look grainy. You can’t go wrong with this step, so relax and just do it.
When rolling out the dough, I found the recommended 1/8-inch thickness a bit too thin. Aim for somewhere between 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch. When I added vents in the top of my crust the first time, I used a toothpick, making a pattern with the small holes. The holes, however, did not vent properly, so my pot pie filling boiled over the sides a little bit while baking. The pies looked very rustic, but I lost a few bites in the boiling over! I recommend using a knife to make at least one 1-inch slit in the center of the crust.
I used four 6-inch ramekins. If you have smaller ramekins, you will get more pot pies.
If you make these pies and then have leftovers, you can reheat them in the oven at 350 F. I microwaved mine, but the center took longer to heat and I had to cut the crust and stir the filling. But, hey, if you’re only feeding you or your family, you might not care (we didn’t).