A Cheesy Vegetable Potato Pie is ultimate springtime comfort food. Each individual pie is colourful, satisfyingly substantial, deliciously cheesy and manages to artfully bridge the gap between hearty winter food and summer salads.
It’s pie week. Okay, maybe a little later than originally scheduled, but Cheesy Vegetable Potato Pies are here for the taking.
It has been a very long time since I posted a savoury recipe that wasn’t a dip. But spring fever has got to me after a grey and dismal winter. My local weather does not yet suit salads (um… Hi there April snowfall) so until the climate catches up, I’m still hankering after hearty, comforting food fuel.
This can only mean one thing: it’s time for pie. So let’s bring on the vibrant colours of broccoli, spinach and peas all packaged up in an indulgent cheesy sauce snuggled up beneath soft, creamy, cheesy mashed potatoes.
Believe me, when stacked up together, these simple components make a formidable team. These individual pot pies come out of the oven smelling shamelessly good. The potato crust blazes golden and, if you’re lucky, some of the cheese sauce will have oozed out during cooking, turning delightfully crisp around the edge of the pot.
These Cheesy Vegetable Potato Pies involve three short and simple assembly stages and they can be made ahead of time, ready to slam into the oven for a made-ahead of time meal.
Confession: I hate boiling potatoes in a pan to make mash as it involves washing up the messy pan. Instead, I throw the potatoes into the oven, let them bake and then scoop out the flesh, ready to mash. There’s no fiddling around peeling the potatoes and the bowl the mash is mixed in is far easier to clean than the messy pan. Plus I get the bonus of potato skins ready for filling. Who’s with me on this?
Back to the pies. Cheesy Vegetable Potato Pies are way better than the typical ready-meal that we all succumb to occasionally… only to immediately regret. In fact, these pot pies are great as a cosy family supper option or as a fuss free meal when entertaining good friends. Oh, and if straight vegetable pies are not your thing, try adding a little flaked salmon to the mix, or even a touch of smoked salmon – just go steady on the seasoning and omit the mustard.
- 250 g/ 9 oz Fresh Spinach
- 350 g/ 12 oz Broccoli
- 200 g/ 7 oz Peas (defrosted) see notes
- 500 ml/ 2 cups Whole (Full fat) Milk
- 4 tbsp Plain (all purpose) flour
- 40 g/ 1 1/2 oz Butter
- 80 g/ 3 oz Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
- 80 g/ 3 oz Mature (sharp) cheddar (finely grated)
- 2 tsp American yellow mustard
- 1 kg/ 2 lb 3 oz Potatoes (suitable for mashing) See notes
- 80 g/ 3 oz Cheddar cheese (grated)
- 40 g/ 1 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 1/2 tsp American yellow mustard
- 4 tbsp Creme fraiche
- 2 tbsp Breadcrumbs
Chop the broccoli into small florets and dice the stems then drop into a large pan of (salted) boiling salted and cook for 3 minutes
Drain & refresh under cold water
Wilt the spinach (I cooked mine in a covered bowl in the microwave for 1.5 minutes). Drain and squeeze out the liquid, then chop finely
Mix the defrosted peas, spinach and broccoli together and set aside
Cube the butter and put into a medium saucepan with the milk and flour
Place the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce is smooth and thick (beat with a balloon whisk if the flour needs breaking down)
Take off the heat and add the cheeses, mustard and seasoning (to taste). Stir until the cheese is completely melted and thoroughly combined
Add the prepared vegetables and toss to coat them in the sauce, then divide the mixture between 4 pie dishes
Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F/ GM 4
Peel & chop the potatoes and cook in boiling water until tender, then mash
Stir in the cheeses, followed by the creme fraiche, mustard and some seasoning to taste
Share the mashed potato between the pies and spread out to cover the filling (I piped mine for a neat look, but it's fine to use a fork to spread it out)
Scatter the breadcrumbs over the potato, put the pies onto a baking sheet (to catch any overflowing sauce) and bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping is golden
Serve with a simple green salad
If using fresh peas cook them with the broccoli.
Don't forget, you can bake your potatoes, slit them open, scoop out the flesh and proceed to mash them instead of boiling peeled potatoes in a pan.
This recipe can be made in advance. Once the pies are assembled, let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. They will need 40-45 minutes from chilled.
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