Dinner With My Family #19: Slow Cooker Pot Pie

Vegetable Pot Pie

My favorite meals are ones that are flexible enough to incorporate whatever we have on hand as well as incorporating whatever might be on sale at the grocery store or at the farmers market. This way, we minimize the food we waste while also taking advantage of sales, minimizing our food costs.

At the same time, convenience is a need for us, too. We have hectic schedules at times and there are certainly evenings where it’s wonderful to come home to a meal made from fresh ingredients that’s pretty much ready to serve.

This meal manages to accomplish both ends at the same time.

Finished meal

What You Need

For an ordinary batch of this, you need about four cups of vegetables. The vegetables you use are up to you – green beans, carrots, potatoes, celery, peas, onions, shallots, asparagus, and countless other things work just fine in this dish.

Vegetables in the crock pot

You’ll also need a cup protein. We often use beans for this, however you can use chicken, beef, or anything else that excites you.

For the sauce, you’ll need 1 1/4 cups water or vegetable stock, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper. These will all be mixed together at the appropriate time.

For the dumplings, you need 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine (or butter), and 1 cup milk (you can certainly use soy milk or flax milk here). Alternately, you could just use 2 1/4 cups of a baking mix (such as Bisquick) and 2/3 cup milk (soy milk or flax milk work as substitutes here).

The Night Before (or Early That Day)

In the morning, put all of the vegetables into the crock pot, then make the liquid by mixing together 1 1/4 cups water or vegetable stock, 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Making liquid

Mix the liquid in with the vegetables and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours (see the note below if you have to let it run all day).

Preparing the Meal

About two to three hours before you wish to eat, make the dumplings.

Just before dumplings

If you’re making them from scratch, slowly mix together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/3 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine, and 1 cup milk, adding the solid ingredients one at a time, then adding the liquid ingredients slowly. The margarine should make the mixture form clumps and the milk should make it all very moist. Alternately, you can use the baking mix suggestion noted above.

Form the dumpling mix into about ten small balls, then place them on top of the vegetable mix.

Cooked

Cook this on low in the slow cooker for another two to three hours and you’re done.

If you have to leave this all day, make everything in advance, add an extra 1/2 cup of liquid to the vegetables before you add the dumplings, splash some additional liquid on top of the dumplings, and cook it on low all day.

Finished meal

We served this meal with strawberries fresh from our garden.

Strawberries

Optional Ingredients

This meal is incredibly flexible. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or are on sale for your primary vegetables. Use beans, poultry, beef, or other sensible meats for the protein. This meal truly comes together based on what you have on hand.

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  1. valleycat1 says:

    We have a favorite pot pie recipe we use frequently too. In my book, pot pie has a pie crust topping; chicken & dumplings has separated dumplings. This looks like a combo of the two.

  2. chuck says:

    what are “sensible meats “? you left out pork and turkey. are they not sensible?

  3. CNM says:

    I think the reference to “sensible meats” would mean any meat that would taste good. Pork and turkey are sensible; but clams or catfish- maybe less so.

  4. Jules says:

    Cue quibbles about how this isn’t tasty, and more quibbles about how it’s soooo unhealthy.

  5. lurker carl says:

    Here’s an excellent dumpling recipe that is no more healthful than Trent’s.

    2 cups sifted flour
    4 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 egg, beaten
    3/4 cup milk

    Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, cut in butter. Combine the egg and milk, stir into dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 1-2 inch squares and drop into gently boiling soup/stew/sauerbraten/pot roast. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes.

    Two hints for tender, fluffy dumplings:

    1. All the ingredients should be cold. If the fat melts into the flour BEFORE the dumplings start cooking, the dumplings will come out tough and chewy. This is true for any pastry.

    2. Your pot must have a good fitting lid and the liquid must be gently boiling to produce enough steam to cook the dumplings. If too much steam escapes from the pot, the dumplings become heavy and sticky. No peeking!

  6. lurker carl says:

    If you want to thicken the liquid without adding flour or corn starch, add okra. Another alternative is to mash a few potatos and stir them in until you get the texture you’re looking for.

  7. Lisa says:

    Great! I would probably cut out the salt and also use homemade veggie stock to reduce the sodium and would make the dumplings with spelt flour and use tofu as a protein. Can’t wait to try this!

  8. deRuiter says:

    I’d caramelize the onions before making this, and have it done with a pressure cooker in about 20 minutes with no diddling around before hand. A pressure cooker (one of the good, big, heavy old ones from WWII and the 1950s) is as efficient today as it was 50 years ago. Now you can buy them at yard sales for $2. / $10. and only have to occasionally replace the gasket and blow out valve with the kit from the hardware store. You can even can pints and half pint Ball jars full of garden produce in these. I have one of the big pressure cookers, and two small ones. They enable you to have cooked vegetables in minutes, applesauce in minutes, pot roast in much less than an hour, home canned (jarred) vegetables, jams, jellies and preserves.

  9. AnnJo says:

    @deRuiter, I’m a big fan of pressure cookers for saving both time and heating energy, but please don’t can low-acid foods like vegetables in a pressure cooker of less than 16-quart size. The testing for processing time to ensure safety has not been done for smaller cookers and their faster heating-up and cooling-off times may not safely process your food. High-acid foods like jams and preserves are fine.

    The good, big, heavy old canners from the 1940s and 1950s work fine for canning, but personally I favor a new, smaller, lighter, steel cooker with a non-stick interior for cooking, and keep the big, heavy aluminum one for canning. It’s much faster and easier to cook with and clean the smaller one. (Faster because it comes up to pressure faster.) Besides, if you cook tomatoes and some other foods in an aluminum pot, it can give the food an off-flavor and discolor the pot.

  10. Laura G says:

    This looks amazing, but I’m not entirely clear on when the meat should be added. Early on, with the veggies, or, since it’s already cooked, later with the dumplings?

  11. Pat says:

    So have you ever substituted mashed potatoes in place of the high-sodium Bisquick mix?

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