root vegetable cheese pot pie + herb biscuit crust
This is a pot pie. Well, it’s actually more of a savory cobbler as it has a buttermilk biscuit topping instead of a pastry crust topping. This is cool weather comfort in a cast iron pot. A cornucopia of root vegetables—parsnip, celery root, fennel, carrots, sun chokes—unapologetically swimming in a vegetarian cheese sauce beneath clouds of rosemary thyme cheese biscuit.
The long time tag line of this blog has been “a cast iron skillet & a camera”, and the skillet I was referring to was my Lodge skillet that I make/bake/fry any and everything I can in. It’s well seasoned & well loved. And I never let it touch water. Cause I’m forgetful and lackadaisical and that would be asking for rust. But whoa science! Lodge just came out with a new rust resistant line. You can get it wet. Let it air dry. Even, so they say, occasionally run it through the dishwasher. My mind is blown. Which is why I’m proudly to collaborate with Lodge to share it with you today. I’m a less is more girl when it comes to cookware, and this pot is perfect for everything from roasts and stews and braises to baking bread and cobblers like this.
I decided this would be the perfect dish to break in the new dutch oven because this recipe gets the pot nice and dirty—I clean my regular cast iron with heat, salt, and coconut oil—and this would be an instance in which I’d really want to actually *wash it with water*. And now I can! Without fear of ruining it. Huzzah.
More about this dish. For one, vegetarian though it may be, it isn’t light. We won’t pretend it is. This is luxurious comfort foot, and while chicken thighs would be gorgeous shredded into the mix, I honestly prefer it this way. The vegetables can really sing. Every bite is a different reiteration of warm, earthy, and creamy. The celery root and sun choke are particularly stellar. This would make a hearty, rich side at your Thanksgiving feast or a perfectly filling main on a weeknight with a nice green salad to brighten things up.
If there are any or even a couple of these veggies you can’t find, no worries, you can easily just substitute extra of one of the others or even potato. This is a flexible, rustic dish, humble & warming. Nothing too precise or precious about it. I spice my cheese gravy with cayenne, freshly nutmeg, and fennel pollen (ground fennel seed would work well too), and I use a local cheese from Sequatchie Cove called Cumberland but a gruyere would work really well too. Rosemary and thyme are my herbs of choice here but chive and even sage or tarragon could be really cool. Feel free to play with it! But be warned…this cheese sauce. It’s intensely good stuff. And also happens to be the basis of a very impressive mac n cheese…but that’s for another day. Maybe that’s what I’ll bake next in this the dutch oven…
You can find this pot and the rest here!
Yield: 6-8 servings
- 2 cups (200 g) fennel, 1/2" pieces
- 2 cups (200 g) parsnip, 1/2" pieces
- 2 cups (200 g) celery root, 1/2" pieces
- 1.5 cups sunchoke, 1/2" pieces
- 2 cups (200 g) carrot, 1/2" pieces
- 1 cup (130 g) shallot
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup (155 g) celery, diced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- for gravy
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 125 g (1 cup) all purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable stock (homemade or low sodium)
- 1 cup grated Sequatchie Cove Cumberland or gruyere cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen (or ground fennel seed)
- 1/2 teaspoon of kosher sea salt
- for biscuit topping
- 250 grams (2 cups) flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup of Sequatchie Cove Cumberland or gruyere cheese
- 1 cup full fat buttermilk (if you can find it, otherwise regular)
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- After dicing all the vegetables, steam everything but the shallots, garlic, and celery for 8-10 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, in a skillet heat the olive oil until shimmering and sautee the garlic and shallots until fragrant and translucent. Add the celery and cook until tender. Toss with the steamed veggies in a bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Make your gravy. Melt butter in your dutch oven, and then whisk in the cup of flour to form a paste and cook, being careful not to brown, for about 3-4 minutes until it smells like pie crust. Slowly whisk in the four cups of stock in about four additions. Mixture will be thick. Add in the cheese, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, fennel pollen, sugar, and lemon juice and whisk to melt the cheese completely. Simmer mixture while whisking until very thick if not already very thick. Remove from heat.
- Stir vegetables into the cheese gravy in your dutch oven. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Set aside, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming, and make your topping.
- In a mixing bowl mix flour, salt, baking powder, rosemary, thyme and cheese thoroughly to combine. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter until no pieces larger than a pea remain. Using a fork, stir in the buttermilk to just combine.
- Dollop the biscuit dough on top to cover the filling; it needn’t be perfect. Bake at 425°F for
- about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, bubbling, and the topping is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly & serve hot. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired. I like parsley & celery leaf.