Here's a simple pot pie that doesn't need a cream sauce. The topping is a buttery biscuit and the filling is jam-packed with juicy vegetables that form their own sauce, with a little help from sherry and butter.
1. Make the filling: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion, and cook it, stirring often, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the okra, the tomatoes, the sweet potato, the sherry, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer the vegetables for 10 minutes, adding more water if they begin to stick to the pan. When the sweet potatoes are tender, add the lima beans. Season the vegetables with the salt and pepper.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make the biscuit topping in a food processor or by hand: To use a food processor, combine in it the flour, baking powder, salt, and butter. Run the machine until the mixture resembles sand. Add the milk, then run the machine in spurts until the dough comes together.
To mix the dough by hand, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork until the pieces are no larger than pea-size. Stir in the milk, and continue to stir until the dough comes together.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to fit a 9-inch pie pan or a 9-inch square baking dish.
3. Transfer the vegetables to the 9-inch dish, and cover them with the biscuit top. (It shouldn't seal the pie, but just sit on top.) Using a pastry brush, brush the top of the pie with a bit of milk. Bake the pie for 15 minutes, until the top is golden. Serve the pie hot.
by Didi Emmons
The Harvard Common Press, $14.95
563 pages; July 1, 1997
Reprinted by permission.
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