It’s that time of year. The holiday madness is upon us. We are deciding our mains and figuring out what presents to get and this crazy Polar Vortex is messing with our brains and our plans.
I hear you. I’m with you. That’s why I decided to test out, yet again the easiest and most fun main for a holiday party. This is a perfect main dish because…
1. It can be made ahead.
2. It is filling and satisfying.
3. It works with vegetarians, omnivores and just about everyone.
4. It is baked and warms up the place.
5. It makes you look like queen bee.
My version is vegetarian. But you can make it vegan substitute with vegan puff pastry ( if available) or just plain ol’ biscuits ( the kind we eat in America, not to be confused with British biscuits.) If you have gluten allergies, I haven’t figured out a topping- but to eat the baked vegetable as is with some gluten free bread is great in itself.
Here is to an easy, fun, healthy and satisfying winter and holiday meal.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons celery, finely diced
- 1 small red onion
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon vegetable broth paste
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, green beans, carrots)
- 1/4 cup plain almond milk ( or regular milk if vegetarian)
- ~1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 bay leaves
- A dash of grated nutmeg
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 sheet puff pastry ( defrosted in the fridge overnight)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onion, garlic and celery. Cook until it’s translucent, soft and they give out an amazing aroma.
- Add the flour and stir with a whisk, then slowly whisk in the water and the veggie broth paste.
- Add milk, bay leaves and stir.
- Simmer until the mixture is thickened (about 10 minutes).
If the base is still thin, add 1 tablespoon more flour and whisk. Wait a few minutes, then repeat if necessary. ( Consistency should be of cream.)
- While the sauce is thickening, prepare puff pastry.
Open out the three folds. On a floured surface, roll it out slightly.
Place a ramekin on one corner.
With a sharp knife, cut about 1/2 an inch large than that of the ramekin.
Cut out 5 such pieces.
- Add the frozen vegetables to the thickened sauce. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
- Add all the spices, salt, pepper and check.
- Discard the bay leaves
- Divide the mixture evenly between 5-6 ramekins. Make sure to leave about 1/2 of an inch of space on top.
- Top with the cut out puff pastry and let the it hang over the sides. You can even press it down slightly on the sides.
(If vegan- use vegan biscuits and brush the tops with melted vegan butter.)
- Set the ramekins on a baking sheet (incase there is any overflow.)
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the puff pastry is a golden brown.
- . Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- If making ahead of time, simply spoon the cooked veggie mixture into your ramekins or dish, top with uncooked biscuits, and keep refrigerated for a day or two.
- When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook until the puff pastry is golden brown – 20-25 minutes.
( In my experience, freezing it did not work as well.)