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The Vegetable Butcher This warm and cozy pie delivers comfort when you need it—perfect for a rainy, snowy, or just a nagging cold winter day. Celery roots, along with parsnips, sweet potatoes, and apple, do take some time to peel and dice, but the results will never fail you. This recipe is so trustworthy, in fact, I’d recommend it as an elegant entrée for dress-up dinner parties. (Guests go nuts for it.) You can make the filling and roll out the dough the day before. Just top the bowls and time the cooking to finish right when you are ready to eat. Let a crisp salad like Escarole and Fuyu Persimmon Salad (see recipe) set the stage.
You’ll need up to six 5- to 6-inch-wide ovenproof bowls for assembling the individual pies. (I use latte bowls, but you can use ramekins, too.) The dough can be made up to a day ahead or just before assembling the pies, but it needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you roll it out. If it chills for more than 1 hour, let it sit out for 20 to 30 minutes until it is soft enough to roll out but still cold and firm. At that point you can roll it into rounds as directed in step 7, stack the rounds between pieces of parchment, wrap them in plastic, and chill until ready to assemble the potpies for baking.

  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 7 tablespoons (1 stick minus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • large celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2½ pounds (about 2 large) celery root, trimmed, peeled, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 medium parsnips or carrots (or a combination), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (2 small to medium), peeled and
  • cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ cups vegetable stock (homemade, see here or here, or store-bought)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • About 2 ounces freshly grated Gruyère or Comté
  • cheese
  • 2 pinches ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Flaky Potpie Crust (recipe follows)
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly with 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 Preheat the oven
How to Make It
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
  2. 2. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften and the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute more.
  3. 3. Add the celery root, parsnips or carrots, sweet potatoes, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the vegetable stock and the bay leaf, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovering to stir occasionally, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 10 minutes.
  4. 4. Uncover the pot, add the apple, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook, uncovered, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the bay leaf, and let stand.
  5. 5. Melt the remaining butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the flour, whisking to break apart any lumps. Whisk constantly, making sure it does not burn or become brown, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the remaining stock and the milk, , then add the thyme and the remaining salt. Increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the Gruyère, nutmeg, and vinegar. Discard the thyme sprigs.
  6. 6. Use a slotted spoon to evenly distribute the vegetables among six 16- to 18-ounce ovenproof bowls (1½ to 2 cups of vegetables per bowl, or more if you are using fewer bowls). Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir gently to combine. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. 7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each of the 6 pastry dough disks, one at a time, from the center outward into rounds, ⅛ inch thick and 1 inch larger than your bowls (6 to 7 inches round depending on the size of your bowls; the dough should hang over the side of the bowl by at least ½ inch).
  8. 8. Brush the top and outer edge of each bowl lightly with the egg wash and top each with a round of pastry dough. Press the hanging dough to the top and side of the bowls, making sure that it sticks in order to seal the bowl. Using a paring knife, carefully make three 1-inch-long slits through the top of the dough. Lightly brush the dough with the remaining egg wash.
  9. 9. Transfer the bowls to the prepared baking sheets and bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is simmering, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand briefly before serving. Cover any leftover pies with aluminum foil and refrigerate. To reheat them, bring them to room temperature. Bake, covered with foil at 400°F for about 10 minutes; remove the foil. Continue to bake until warmed through the center and the crust is flaky, 5 to 10 minutes more.

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