This vegetarian pot pie is topped with a whole-wheat biscuit dough that is flaky and irresistible, but with a little more tooth than the standard fare. Amaranth and millet grits function as the thickeners. The filling uses a mix of frozen vegetables so that it only takes 30 minutes of prep time to pull together but you can use a mix of fairly quick cooking vegetables instead. You'll need 2 lb. diced onions, bell peppers, asparagus, green beans, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, and/or sugar snap peas. For even cooking, make sure you cut the florets into very small pieces.
For the filling
Unsalted butter for greasing the baking dish
3-1/2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. minced fresh marjoram leaves or 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup amaranth
1/4 cup millet grits
20 oz. frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1/4 cup light or heavy cream
For the biscuit topping
1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for dusting a work surface (do not use whole wheat flour)
3 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
6 Tbs. light or heavy cream, plus more for brushing the biscuits
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
Tip:Make It Easier! Forego the topping altogether and use frozen puff pastry dough, available in boxes at your supermarket. Thaw a sheet as directed on the package, then roll it on a lightly floured surface to smooth it out and make it slightly thinner. Cut it into shapes to fit as a mosaic across the top of the casserole.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with a little butter on a wadded-up paper towel or piece of wax paper. Make sure you get into the corners and along the seams.
Make the filling
Combine the broth, thyme, marjoram, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan
and bring to a full simmer over high heat. Stir in the amaranth and
millet grits. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring often,
for 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetables and cream and return to a
simmer; then pour into the prepared baking dish.
Make the topping
Stir the whole wheat flour,
Parmigiano-Reggiano, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large bowl until
the baking powder and nutmeg are evenly distributed throughout. Stir in
the cream and melted butter to make a fairly stiff dough.
Finish the pot pie
Dust a clean, dry work surface with a little whole-wheat flour, then turn the dough out onto it. Dust the top of the dough with a little more flour and roll it out, without pressing down too hard, until it's an 8 x 10-inch rectangle. Cut this rectangle into squares, smaller rectangles, and/or triangles. Collage the biscuits over the filling in the baking dish. Use a pastry brush to smear the top of each with a little cream.
Bake until the filling is bubbling and the biscuits have set on top, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes before spooning it up into bowls.
The amaranth and millet grits will dry the casserole out over time, so if you have leftovers it's best to freeze individual servings right after dinner, rather than leaving them in the fridge for a couple of days.
Photo: Tina Rupp