When I was in university, I briefly flirted with vegetarianism. It was actually a fairly simple transition for me. I’ve always been more of a carb and cheese person than a meat person. But whenever any holiday approached, I would get lax in my resolve. I would bend the rules to allow a hunk of glazed ham here and a slice of prime rib there. I wasn’t proud of it but in my defense the vegetarian options on most holiday tables, well, suck. It’s not your host or hostess’s fault, by the way. For pretty much all of human history, feasts have been organized with roasted meats at the center. But making something festive and vegetarian-friendly doesn’t have to be a herculean effort and this Pinto Pot Pie proves that.
My time as a vegetarian, and my current schedule of going meat-free four to five times a week, has acquainted me with the considerable powers of beans, mushrooms, and tofu. Almost anything meat can do, they can do too. Well, they’ll never replace chops or bacon. Not to be a buzzkill, but we need to limit our expectations here. But in something like this Pinto Pot Pie, beans and mushrooms are all one really needs. The beans give the pie a satisfying texture, while the mushrooms add some much-needed umami. Sure, you’ll never mistake it for chicken pot pie but with a dill-flecked puff pastry lid, you won’t be thinking about chicken at all.
I think it’s about time we put a little love and attention into the vegetarian option, instead of tossing a tofurkey into the middle of the table and calling it a day. My mission behind creating this Pinto Pot Pie was to make a vegetarian holiday meal, you wouldn’t feel guilty serving or bummed receiving. And I think I’ve accomplished that. Spring veg and beans dressed in a creamy cognac-spiked sauce topped with puff pastry? Yeah, there’s nothing sad about that.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Pinto Pot Pie with Dill Puff Pastry. It takes a little time but it’s well worth the effort. And far from an afterthought, this vegetarian option might just be the most sought-after dish on your Easter table. Check out the video below for a full how-to. And if you enjoy it, please consider subscribing to my new-ish YouTube channel. I barely know what I’m doing – so it’s a trip. Shout out to my partner Sunny for all his hard work shooting these videos.
Pinto Pot Pie with Dill Puff Pastry
- A large casserole dish
Dill Puff Pastry
- 160g (5.5oz) unsalted butter softened, cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- ¾ tsp kosher salt divided
- 250g (9oz) all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 40g cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 100ml (3.5 fl oz) cold water
- 1 large egg beaten
Pinto Pot Pie Filling
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 shallots sliced into half-moons
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 cup sugar snap peas ends trimmed, sliced in half
- 1 bunch asparagus wooden ends removed, coarsely chopped
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cognac
- 1½ cups milk I used 2%
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard heaping
- 2 tbsp creme fraîche heaping
- 2 (540ml, 18 fl oz) cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp fresh dill finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh tarragon finely chopped
- 1 egg beaten
For the Pastry
- Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the Dijon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Beat the butter on medium until all the ingredients are thoroughly integrated.
- Place the butter mixture in the center of a large piece of parchment paper and fold the paper around it to form a rectangular package measuring roughly 14 x 16 cm or 5.5 x 6 inches. Keep the package together as you roll the butter out to evenly fill the space you’ve created. Once the butter is even, transfer the parcel to the fridge and let chill for 1 hour.
- While the butter plate is chilling, make the dough. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the remaining salt and dill. Whisk to combine. Add the cold unsalted butter. Using the rubbing method or a pastry blender, cut the butter into flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stream in the cold water and stir to combine. Once the dough starts to form, transfer it to a floured surface. Lightly knead the dough, but be quick and light with your movements – you don’t want to overwork the dough. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge. Let chill for 1 hour.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 16cm x 30cm rectangle. Unwrap the butter plate and place it over half of the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over top and pinch to form a seal. Roll the dough out to once again form a 16 x 30 rectangle, then fold the dough like a letter and wrap it in parchment paper, taking care to keep it oriented the same way when you transfer it to the fridge. Let chill for 30 minutes.
- When the 30 minutes are up, take the dough out and place it once again on a well-floured surface. Rotate the dough 90 degrees – this why I wanted you to take note of the dough’s orientation – and roll it out to a 16 x 30 rectangle. Fold the dough like a letter and transfer it to the fridge to chill for another 30 minutes.
- You’re going to repeat this step another 3 times for a total of 4 folds. When you finish the last fold, transfer the dough to the fridge and let chill for at least an hour before rolling out for the final time.
For the Filling
- Pour the olive oil into a large, deep skillet. Heat over medium until shimmering. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt, sauce over low until just translucent.
- Add the garlic, celery, and carrots. Sauté until slightly softened – about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until nearly cooked through. We want the mushrooms to leech off as much liquid as possible before adding them to the final pie.
- Once the mushrooms are in a good place add the snap peas and asparagus. Sauté them briefly. Once all the veg is sautéed to their various states of doneness, transfer them to a large bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the skillet. Whisk in the flour to form a roux. Add the cognac and whisk it into the roux. Slowly whisk in the milk and stir in the Dijon mustard and creme fraîche. Taste and season with salt accordingly.
- Add the pinto beans to the skillet along with the sautèed vegetables and the herbs. Toss to coat. Pour the pot pie filling into a large casserole dish, cover, and let cool on the counter before thoroughly chilling in the fridge.
- When you’re ready to bake the pie, preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small bowl beat one large egg. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg all over the edges of your casserole dish.
- On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry out until it is wide and long enough to handily cover the top of the casserole dish. Drape the pastry over the casserole dish and tuck in the sides. Form a seal using a fork and trim off the excess pastry, leaving a good amount of overhang.
- Cut a vent in the center of the pastry and brush with the remaining egg mixture. Transfer the pie to the oven. Bake for 55 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Scoop the pot pie into bowls and serve immediately.