Vegetable pot pie

  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 70g plain flour
  • 375ml good chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Pernod
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 225g large-diced potatoes
  • 150g asparagus tips
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut in 2cm dice
  • 200g butternut squash, peeled, cut in 2cm dice
  • 225g frozen small whole onions
  • 45g minced flat leaf parsley
  • For the pastry
  • 420g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 110g vegetable fat
  • 110g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 125-170ml ice water
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
1) Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the double cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.

2) Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

3) For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the vegetable fat and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas.

4) With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together.

5) Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

6) Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 5.

7) Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 20cm circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1cm larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

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