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Thanksgiving “Pie” with Variations

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Vegan Planet: Thanksgiving “Pie” with Variations

Monday, November 15, 2010


Thanksgiving “Pie” with Variations

Pie for Thanksgiving?  No, I’m not talking about eating dessert for dinner.  I’m referring to a savory pie that includes all the flavors we love about Thanksgiving (stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes) in one easy to assemble dish.

As you may recall, I’m totally crazy about my vegan version of my family’s traditional Italian Easter Pie — a savory concoction of spicy vegan sausage and tofu baked in a pie crust.  With Easter Pie as inspiration, I took the elements of my Almost One-Dish Thanksgiving Dinner recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes and baked it in a pie plate instead of in a baking dish.

The “almost” in the recipe title comes from the fact that I don’t include a layer of vegetables — that’s because the veggies look much better served alongside.  And even though cranberries are represented in the recipe, I also like to serve cranberry sauce as a colorful side dish.  Some of the other variations for this recipe include making several individual Thanksgiving “pot pies” (shown here in a small gratin dish with roasted veggies — more about those vegetables tomorrow!).

I’ve also been known to transform the components of this recipe into a Shepherd’s Pie, omitting the top pastry crust layer, so the mashed potatoes become the top layer.  Since the gravy tends to get absorbed into the seitan and stuffing, I also have an extra bowl of hot gravy ready to add more at the table.

In the original recipe (below) I use a sheet of puff pastry for the top layer. For the pie versions I used a regular pie dough for the crust. Both work great.  If you’re not a fan of seitan, you could just go with a layer of sauteed and pressed extra-firm tofu (instead of simmering the tofu in broth). Other options (instead of or in addition to tofu or seitan) are adding crumbled vegan sausage or extra chestnuts, pecans, or walnuts to the stuffing portion.

Whichever version you choose to make, the Almost One-Dish Thanksgiving Dinner can be assembled in advance and is a fun and delicious way to enjoy the flavors of Thanksgiving.  It’s a great “take-along” dish to bring to a Thanksgiving potluck, too.

Almost One-Dish Thanksgiving Dinner
Other than your favorite vegetables (green bean casserole anyone?) this amazing recipe has it all, including “white and dark 'meat'” (tofu and seitan), stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy. There’s even a golden brown crust that fills in nicely for hot rolls.
Note: use this recipe as a basic for any of the spin-offs described in this post, including individual pot pies, a Shepherd's Pie, or in a pie plate.  You can also make a larger version to fit in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Make it your own by using your own favorite stuffing, gravy, or other ingredients.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced white mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups fresh bread cubes
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans, or chestnuts
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
6 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and thinly sliced
8 ounces seitan, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups brown gravy (plus more to serve)
2 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a 10-inch square baking dish. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, thyme, savory, sage, nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes longer. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes with enough broth to moisten (about 1 1/2 cups). Add the cooked vegetable mixture, walnuts, and cranberries. Stir to mix well and set aside.In the same skillet, bring the remaining 1 cup broth to a boil, reduce heat to medium, add the tofu and simmer, uncovered, until broth is absorbed. Set aside. (Alternately, the tofu can be seasoned with soy sauce and sauteed in a little olive oil uintil crisp.)
Spread half of the prepared stuffing in the bottom of the prepared baking dish, followed by half of the seitan, half of the tofu, and half of the brown sauce. Repeat layering with the remaining stuffing, seitan, tofu, and sauce. Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over top. Roll out the pastry and place on top of the potatoes. Pinch down the edges of the pastry to seal in the filling. Use a sharp knife to make a few slits in the top. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve hot.

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impressive! all looks divine!

P.S. I just ordered 2 vegan on the cheap & vegan party for Christmas presents...they are great...thanks!
I am going to make this, but without the seitan. I'll use tofu as you suggested.

It sounds great!
Seriously - this looks and sounds AMAZING!
This sounds pretty AMAZING!
Cool idea!!!
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