January is a weird month for me. It starts off well – I’m inspired, positivity is seeping from my pores, I’m attacking new projects, I’m getting shit done. Then I stumble, I wipe myself off and am back at it, but there’s something amiss. My confidence is shaken and before I know it, I can’t quite remember what I was fighting for. What was making me tick for those couple of weeks? Where did that drive come from? Can I get it back? Please?
Maybe the days of endless grey skies and rain might have something to do with it. Or maybe it’s just that my body is saying relax, chill, take it easy. Have a beer, go out with friends, watch 3 episodes of Luther all in a row. And make a good dinner. A cozy dinner that feels like a warm blanket of niceness. A dinnertime hug. This smoked tofu and vegetable pot pie is just what your body needs.
I know, the ingredient list looks long and probably seems complicated. Think of it as a stir fry (easy, right?) with a biscuit top. No pie dough skills required. The vegetables are what I had on hand at the time, though you could certainly change things up to suit your own vegetable drawer. I used frozen organic butternut squash, peas and corn to make things super simple. I had fresh green beans on hand, but the frozen kind would be equally good. Don’t stress! The vegetables and tofu bathe in a lovely cream sauce which is simply that a sprinkle of flour and some vegetable stock and almond milk. Done and done!
Years ago – let’s be real, here – decades ago, when I read the Moosewood cookbook cover to cover, I would spy the words “smoked tofu” in a recipe and wanted to know more. But somehow, back then, I couldn’t easily find it in my local markets. But now, smoked tofu is quite commonplace and I’m surprised that this is my first time using it. And, yes, it’s as good as I imagined. If you don’t have smoked tofu on hand, try adding some smoked paprika or chipotle powder instead. I’m not the sort of person to have a bottle of liquid smoke on hand, but I’m sure that would work too. The smokiness here is fantastic and really helps to elevate this dish into super-fantastico territory. So pick some up at your local market.
elsewhere: Need a wholesome treat? What about a golden apple cake that makes January a happier little place. Go get the simple recipe over at Poppytalk.
smoked tofu & vegetable pot pie
When I made this, I had some extra biscuit dough leftover which is always a nice surprise. You could bake it up alongside the pot pie, or save it for the next day’s breakfast.
1 T olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t crushed red chilies
1 pkg smoked firm tofu, diced into 1″ cubes
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, sliced/diced
1 c mushrooms, sliced
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 c fresh green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
1 c cooked butternut squash, diced (frozen is fine)
1 T sodium-reduced soy sauce
1 t sriracha (optional)
2 T flour
3/4 c vegetable stock
1/2 c almond milk (any dairy or non-dairy is fine)
1/4 c frozen peas
1/4 c frozen corn
1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
4 t baking powder
1 t sugar
1 t dried parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 c butter, cubed (earth balance or other vegan butter)
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese or daiya (vegan cheese)
1 c almond milk (any dairy or non-dairy is fine)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat and add in onions, garlic, salt and chilies. Let everything sweat for a bit and then add in the cubed tofu, celery, carrots, green beans, oregano and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the dried oregano.
Let saute for 10 minutes and then add in the butternut squash, soy sauce, sriracha (if using) and sprinkle with flour. Stir until flour coats everything. Pour in the stock and milk and let things thicken, stirring occasionally. Stir in the peas and corn and then pour mixture into a deep oven-proof dish. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare your biscuit dough. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, sugar, parsley, salt and garlic powder. Add in the butter work it in with your fingers until it’s blended in with the flour and looks like oats. Stir in the cheese until well mixed and then pour in the milk, stirring lightly with a wooden spoon.
Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out until your dough is about 1 inch thick. Trim dough to the size of your dish and gently place on top of your tofu & veg filled oven-proof dish. Alternately, just drop spoonfuls of dough onto the top of the mixture and pop it in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until biscuit topping is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling.