Tofu Pot Pie

IMG_0686For over ten years now one of the favorite dishes in our house has been tofu pot pie. We got the recipe from a good friend on a visit to Idaho. The recipe (or an approximation of a recipe) was hastily written on the back of a page of a transcript of an interview about a timber sale. It has rudimentary directions but enough for me to understand it and to make the pie scores of times. I made it again last night.

The original recipe is a little different. It calls for mushrooms and not potatoes, but I love potatoes in a pot pie and mushrooms are not always appreciated by some members of our household. It has a few other modifications as well, which were added after many attempts to try something new. This takes some time to prepare, no question, but it is worth it. Here is the recipe:

TOFU POT PIE

Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon salt

5 Tablespoons water

Mix salt and flour in a food processor. Cut butter into chunks and add to food processor; mix until it forms loose crumbs. Add water in stages until dough starts to cohere. Pack into two flat discs, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap in wax paper. Chill for at least an hour.

Vegetables

1 onion

2 celery stalks

2 large carrots

3-4 potatoes

1 cup peas

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon pepper

salt to taste

1 ½ Tablespoons tamari

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Chop onion, celery, carrots and potatoes into ¼ inch pieces. Cook in large sauté pan in olive oil on medium high heat until potatoes start to get soft. Add spices, salt, peas and tamari. Set aside.

Tofu

14 oz. extra-firm tofu

1/3 cup flour

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 ½ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon garlic powder

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Cut tofu into ¾-inch cubes. Mix flour, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder in large bowl. Coat tofu well in this mixture. Brown coated tofu in hot oil in large sauté pan and set aside.

Gravy

½ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup flour

1/3 cup olive oil

1½ cup cold water

2 Tablespoons tamari

In dry hot large sauté pan, toast flour and nutritional yeast for a few minutes. Add olive oil and whisk into a paste. Add water and tamari and whisk well until blended. Remove from heat.

Assembly

Heat oven to 400°.

Roll out bottom crust and insert into 10-inch pie pan. Add half each of the vegetables, tofu and gravy, then add the rest in additional layers. Cover with top of crust and seal.

Bake at 400° for 30 minutes. Crust should be slightly browned. Cool for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8. Total time to prepare and bake: 1½- 2 hours.

Sausages and Tofu

We don’t eat meat in our house.  I guess that isn’t totally true but almost 100% true.  My daughter is pretty good at counting but she can count way higher than she needs to in order to count the number of times she has eaten meat.  I have cooked meat in our house exactly twice, and when I did so it had been many years since I had cooked meat at all.  Tonight for dinner we had cheese quesadillas and salad.  It was light fare but was just what we needed.

My daughter likes breakfast sausages.  She has eaten them only a few times.  The last time was at a community breakfast at her school.  There were many families there.  It was a fund raiser for the local pre-school.  We had tons of fun and my daughter wanted some sausage, like many of the other children there.  I hate to be the parent who says no all the time, especially when I don’t have the best of explanations.  I didn’t want to eat it, and this particular sausage wasn’t exactly of the highest quality, but why the heck not let her have it?  She’ll try to some time anyway.  And it won’t kill her.

I hear people talk about how they could never be a vegetarian.  As if they would have to jump right into eating tofu and beans and kale at every meal if they decided to stop eating meat.  I think most people eat plenty of meals that don’t contain meat without even thinking about it.  Peanut butter and jelly?  Macaroni and cheese?  Breakfast cereal?  Who eats meat at every meal?

Anyway, I am currently of the mind that we won’t have meat much in our house at all.  My wife and I are on the same page with that one.  But if the kids want it once in a while when it is offered, I will let them try it, as long as it isn’t too nasty.  I made them fried chicken a couple of times here at home, at my daughter’s request to have chicken.  She thought it was OK and my son just said no thanks.  I have cooked up chicken many a time and this was, and I’m not just saying this, really good fried chicken.  I ate it right up.  The second try provided the same results.  Salad is a bigger hit.

We do eat tofu occasionally.  It is good stuff if you prepare it right.  Kind of like cauliflower.  That stuff isn’t exactly great plain, if you ask me, but in a gratin, oh baby oh.  I can whip up some tofu into a tasty meal.  We even eat meat substitutes.  For me, it isn’t that I don’t like meat as a food.   It just seems irresponsible to eat it.  Eat it if you want but, knowing what I know about where it comes from, I don’t want to support such a destructive and unhealthy system.

We have talked about trying to eat meat that is locally and responsibly grown.  That is where the chicken I fried came from, a local farm.  At this point that is hard to do, more because we are in the habit of not eating meat than anything else, but meat still has a larger ecological footprint, even if it is raised in the best way possible, and that factors in as well.

For now we don’t buy it, don’t prepare it and don’t really eat it.  I won’t be a hindrance to my children experimenting with it if they want to do that. Maybe if they experiment with that they will be more careful experiementing with things like smoking banana peels.  And we will likely cook up something fleshy again at some point.  But for now I will toss that fake sausage on the pizza and bake the tofu pot pie.  That will do me more than just fine.