On March 14, we celebrate Pi(e) Day, because at least in the United States, the number for pi is the same as the date written as 3.14. What started as a little math nerdy joke has gone viral, in the same way that March 4th (“march forth!”) is celebrated as National Parade Day, and May 4 (May the 4th) is Star Wars Day. Oh, the puns.
My friend Jenny does a much better job at explaining the pi(e) phenomenon here, but we had a little fun of our own with Ina’s Vegetable Pot Pie (from Parties!).
The way that the recipe is written doesn’t encourage the most efficient use of time. If I had it to do over again, I would have made the pie dough before starting in on the vegetables and sauce. I was scrambling a little to get the pie crust ready, but it still all turned out just fine. (And really, homemade crust is the way to go here – anything else would be a disservice to all those lovely vegetables.) There is a delicious golden color to the filling, mostly from the homemade chicken stock and generous helping of saffron.
I substituted leeks for the fennel and frozen peas for the frozen onions, just for our own personal tastes. If you found yourself making this when you couldn’t find asparagus and butternut squash at the supermarket (and really, those seasons don’t quite intersect), I would substitute green beans for the asparagus tips. And as you can see, I made two large-ish medium size pies instead of the four individual bowls written in the recipe, so the baking time was cut down by quite a bit. If you wanted to work in advance, you could make the pie dough a day in advance, and even cook up the vegetables ahead of time. The sauce came together really beautifully, and the whole thing didn’t taste like a sacrifice without any meat. (Incidentally, we don’t give up meat for Fridays in Lent, but if that’s your tradition, this would do nicely.) The nature of pot pies is that they’re a little futzy – all those chopped up vegetables in somewhat small quantities – but pulling it all together makes it so worth it.