Ina Garten Vegetable Pot Pie (Barefoot Contessa)


Ina Garten’s Vegetable Pot Pie is great (of course it is!) but the effort is more than a 45 minute prep session.  I have made a few changes to her original recipe.  I added some parsnips.  I skipped asparagus tips and instead added shiitake mushrooms.  I did not use Pernod (it is expensive, not something I keep on hand) and I don’t think the recipes suffers without it.   She recommends making this dish in four individual oven proof dishes.  For simplicity, I used one deep 8 x 8 rectangle baking dish.  I think a normal pyrex will work but you may not have room for all the filling.   If only serving this dish and your guests are hungry, the pie should feed around 4-5 people.

Ina says:   Prep: 45 minutes, Cook 1 hr 35 Minutes, Total Time 2 Hours 45 Minutes

Dishthistoday:  Impossible.  You will need more time for sure.

Prep: @ 85 minutes until the dish went into the oven and I work fast.  With slightly more efficiency, I believe I could have saved an additional 5-10 minutes mostly when cooking the potatoes.  Note I bought pre-prepped fresh squash.  This saved probably 10-15 minutes off the prep time.

In terms of difficulty, the non-pastry piece is time consuming but easy to follow and the filling is delicious.  The pastry portion is also not that difficult assuming you have a LARGE food processor and are used to making dough.


Pot Pie Filling

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions (1 1/2 medium/large onions)
  • 1 fennel bulb
    • Remove a small top part of bulb like you would for an onion
    • Remove the stalk portions (not edible)
    • Cut bulb in half and remove the core
    • Slice up the rest of the bulb in thin small pieces
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups good chicken stock (use good boxed version)
  • 1 tablespoon Pernod (ok to skip)
  • Pinch saffron threads (best price Trader Joes or Costco Kirkland Brand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms (vs her asparagus tips)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (3 carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4 – inch – diced parsnips (2-3 parsnips)
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash (recommend buying already prepped)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound)
  • Some frozen peas might make a good addition
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

For the pastry:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening  (half hour prior to making dough – cut into small pieces and put in freezer with butter)
  • 1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced (half hour prior to making dough – cut into small pieces and put in freezer with shortening)
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
  • 1 egg yolk (she includes the whites) beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper


Pre-Prep the dough so it can be ready when your filling is ready

  • Measuring the dry dough portions and set aside until ready
  • Fill a large glass of water and ice and let the cubes melt so the water is cold.  You can measure the right amount of water later
  • Cut the butter and margarine for the dough and set in a plastic bag and place in the freezer to get cold.

Begin the filling:

  • Fill a large pot of water with salt and start boiling it on medium so it is ready early. This is for potatoes, carrots, and parsnips.  If you have a pot with a fitted insert for things like pasta – use it when cooking these vegetables.  It is faster than fishing out the potato pieces once finished cooking.  I wasted a good five to ten minutes fishing out the potatoes.
  • Prep the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, squash (if you need to) and mushrooms (if using)
  • Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out potatoes and drain
  • NOTE YOU ARE USING THE SAME WATER FOR POTATOES FOR carrots, parsnips and squash (see a few steps lower)
  • Once the potatoes start cooking –
  • Use a very large pan with high straight sides or another large pot for the filling
    • Melt the butter.
    • Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 8 to 13 minutes.  Add mushrooms for 2-4 minutes.
    • Now begin making your pastry dough * *  (you have ten minutes while the potatoes finish and the onions and fennel are cooking.  Make sure to occasionally stir the onions and fennel and add the mushrooms near the end while making the dough)
    • Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Slowly add the stock, Pernod (if using), saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
    • Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
    • Continuing cooking your vegetables in the water you used for the potatoes as needed
      • Carrots, parsnips, and squash together for five to seven minutes
      • Drain well.
    • Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, frozen pearl onions, (peas if using) and parsley to the sauce and mix well.

** Making the Pastry Dough

  •  For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the VERY COLD shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour.
  • Pulse 10-20 times, or until the fat is the size of peas.
  • With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together.   This took less than 2 minutes for the ball to form
  • Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Putting it all together …

  • Move the filling to your cooking dish.
  • Brush the outside edges of cooking dish with the egg wash
  • Place the dough on top.
  • Trim 1/2-inch larger
  • Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick with fork
  • Brush the dough with egg wash and make several thin slits in the top (7-10 slits).
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour (60 minutes), or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

Getting ready

Leek Prep (whole leek, slice off top and bottom, slice in half and remove rough core, then diced)

Making the filling

Dough before adding water; dough ball, dough rolled out

Drained cooked vegetables

Pie before oven and after being cooked

Piece up close



Original Recipe:





Ina Garten’s / Barefoot Contessa Company Pot Roast



If you are looking for a pot roast and have about a half hour to invest in preparation, Ina’s version is delicious.  Her directions list 20 minutes of prep time.  That is too short to clean and dice all items and sear your meat.  Total cooking time is about 3 1/2 hours, in addition to the 30 minutes of prep.  If you are not serving right away leave the completed stew in a slow cooker on warm setting.  Freeze in small portion any leftovers.  I made this entire dish in my Williams-Sonoma All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker (with Cast-Aluminum Insert 7 quart) even though the dish was not cooked in a slow cooker manner. This slow cooker can sear your meat on the stove top and then go into the oven.    I made one addition.  I added diced potatoes after 90 minutes of initial cooking at the higher temperature.  I made one deletion, skipping the Cognac because we did not have any.  The sauce has such a complete taste,  I am not sure it matters.   Note: I did use most of the amount of salt and pepper recommended despite seeming high.  I would not drop the amounts below much,  unless salt intake must be closely watched.  The dish once done is not salty nor too peppery.  I do not have a sense for how many servings this dish made because we froze a lot.  My best guess would be there is enough for 8-10 people easily.


1 (4 to 5-pound*) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied  (I cooked mine untied)

* I also used two ” 2  1/2 ” pound pieces given one large option was not available

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4-5 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 small onions or 1 large)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)

4 small white potatoes cleaned and diced (peeling not necessary)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy (I skipped)
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme **
2 branches fresh rosemary **
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

**I used a combo herb packet for roasting a chicken which had a total of 4 herbs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven (I used my slow cooker), heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.  If you are using 2 smaller pieces you likely will only need to sear on 2 sides not 4.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac (if using) and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot.

Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover.


(Picture before being covered and placed into oven)

Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours (if using potatoes add after 90 minutes and return meat to oven for another 1 hour at 325), until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F for about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast (if not already done so), and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Other Photos


Meat seasoned but raw above


Meat seared above


Raw vegetables diced excluding potatoes above



Fresh herbs tied with kitchen string above


Vegetables (excluding potatoes) tender not browned (above)

Read more at:


Slow Cooker Turkey Lasagna – Yes it is possible

I love Barefoot Contessa’s (Ina Garten) Turkey lasagna but it is a lot of work and worse a lot of cleanup.  So when this slow cooker recipe was posted on Williams-Sonoma website a few years ago I was intrigued.  I own and love the Williams-Sonoma’s All-Clad 7-Qt Deluxe Slow Cooker.  It is so versatile. You can brown anything with the insert on top of the stove, and the insert can go into the oven to finish off a dish like this.  This is a serious advantage when it comes to clean up.
So could a lasagna baked in a crock pot have the taste and texture of a typical oven baked lasagna?  My opinion after making this recipe absolutely yes; however, I am not sure the success would be as good in your typical crockpot that does not have a removable insert that can go in the oven.  You also need an above average slow cooker capacity for this recipe.  I think the final broil step on this dish adds a lot to the texture and appearance of the dish.
Could prep and clean-up really be improved versus a typical lasagna without sacrificing taste?  Again I would say yes.  The dish easily peels out of the slow cooker and you are left with two easy to clean bowls (the temporary dirty bowl and the cheese bowl) and a cutting board if you took the time to add the mushrooms and carrrots.


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed  – I use turkey sausage
  • 2 jars (each 24 oz.) tomato sauce – I typically use Wegman’s or Wholefood’s 360 brand to save time but sometimes I use homemade.
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb. whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 18 ruffle-edged lasagna noodles (not no-boil noodles)
  • 1 1/2 lb. mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
  • 3 carrots in small diced form (my add in for more nutrition)
  • Small container of your favorite mushrooms, cleaned and chopped in small pieces (my add in for more nutrition)
  • Thinly sliced fresh basil for garnish


Prep your carrots and mushrooms if using.

In the stovetop-safe insert of slow cooker over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Saute the carrots and mushrooms if using for about five to seven minutes until soft.  I usually add the carrots first and halfway through add the mushrooms.  When they look close to done but not quite, add the sausage and cook, breaking up any large chunks with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and water and bring to a simmer. Transfer the sauce to a large bowl.

In another bowl, stir together the ricotta, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Spread a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of the slow-cooker insert. Cover the sauce with a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (about 3), breaking the noodles as needed to fit. The noodles do not need to be perfect.  Spread about 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with about 2 cups of the sauce, then sprinkle with about 1 cup of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Repeat the layering 4 more times, starting with the noodles.

Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base, cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions until the noodles are tender and cooked through, about 4 hours (WS recommended time).  My best results have been stopping early at 3 hours 45 minutes to 3 hours 50 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of an oven and preheat to broil.

Transfer the slow-cooker insert to the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes (Williams-Sonoma recommended time). DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PRIZE IN THE BROILER.  FIVE TO SIX MINUTES WILL LIKELY BE PLENTY.  YOU DO NOT WANT TO OVER-BROIL.

Let the lasagna rest for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil and serve immediately. Serves 12.

This dish says it serves 12, I think it can stretch further.   Freeze leftovers in desired portion sizes.  Defrost overnight and rewarm on 325 until warm throughout – 15-20 mins.
Suggest serve with homemade garlic bread:
1 good French loaf bread sliced in half (horizontal cut)
Dice a few cloves of garlic very tiny or do a quick swirl of whole cloves in a mini food processor- saute them for 2-3 minutes on low heat with oil if you have time.
   Or just buy a jar of already crushed garlic to save time and spoon a teaspoon
Melt 8 tablespoons of butter.  Add garlic to butter.
Using a pastry brush or pouring – put the butter mixture over the bread.
(Sprinkle some parm cheese on top for a nice touch – optional)
Place bread on lined alumimum foil sheet pan.   (I have sometimes prep the bread as much as 2-3 hours in advance and covered with foil.  It can get a little soggy if sitting out much longer than that).
Broil on high for about 1 1/2 – 3 minutes.  Do not take your eye off the oven.
These can burn quick.   Nothing like piece of fresh garlic bread to go with this lasagna.
Recipe Link
Slow Cooker Link
I am not being paid in any to recommend this slow cooker.  I have had it for about 5 years.  I use it often and have been incredibly pleased about every feature.

Barefoot Contessa’s Crab Strudel – Luxury Appetizer or Entree

When I saw this in Ina’s Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, I was attracted to the small number of ingredients, 20 minute prep time, and the ability to freeze the dish and bake-off at a later date.  I was secretly also hoping to get a wow factor from the crowd, and I had success.  The good news indeed the ingredients are easy to find in a store.  The bad news is that 20 minutes of prep is not realistic.  I would say if you are prepping this solo, count on 30-40 minutes unless you are proficient with pastry dough.  In addition you need to plan ahead before making the dish.  The dough needs to defrost for 8 hours or overnight in your fridge.  Then it needs to rest at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before using.  I suggest you gather all your ingredients, then take out the dough, and start your timer and complete your prep work.  The sheets needs to be soft but not too soft.  Yes you might have time to kill waiting for the dough to get just right, but you can always start cleaning up.  Once you start working with the sheets you need to cover the unused sheets with a damp dish cloth (non fluffy type that won’t stick to dough).    Finally my experiment freezing went well but I thought the dish tasted slightly better when baked immediately after prepping vs the frozen but not enough for your guests to likely care.  Her yield says 6-8.  If it is a main entree I think that sounds about right.  But I served a half a recipe for 6 people as an appetizer and it was a perfect quantity.

In terms of difficulty, I upped this to medium because pastry dough is tricky.  However in reality if you just read the box directions and the directions in the recipe, I think it is hard to mess this recipe up.  I used Wegmans Ready to Use Phyllo Pastry Sheets.  Our store carried two sizes and I used the larger size but the smaller size would be fine.   My recipe yielded 4 meaty size loaves.  I got the crab at Wegmans too.  The brand was called Graham & Rollins Inc. Crabmeat, Jumbo Lump.  It came in a one pound container and I never saw one shell and the crab tasted great.  Downside is that the container costs close to $30.00.  At Wholefoods it would be significantly more.


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided   (2 tablespoons + 10 tablespoons)

3 scallions, chopped (use whole of scallion cut into small slices)

2 garlic cloves, minced (I hand diced small)

1 teaspoon curry powder (I think you could add a touch more (extra half teaspoon?) and have a more favorable result.  In the website many wrote in they used Old Bay.  I think that would be fine too but give a different flavor for sure)

1 pound lump crabmeat, drained and picked to remove shells

2 teaspoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1 lime, juiced

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

10 sheets phyllo dough (such as Pepperidge Farm) – I used Wegmans brand and 20 sheets (4 rolls, 5 sheets each)

1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs – I used a half cup at least and would measure at least that amount out.  (I used Panko style)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saute pan, add the scallions and garlic and cook over medium-low heat until the scallions are soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add the curry powder (or old bay) and stir.

Shred the crabmeat into a bowl and mix with the parsley, lime juice, salt, to taste, and pepper.   She then says add the crabmeat to the scallion mixture.  I found it easier to add the scallion mixture to the crabmeat bowl.

Melt 10 tablespoons of butter in a small pan and set aside.


Unfold 1 sheet of the phyllo dough. Brush the sheet with melted butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs.  (My sprinkles caused me to end up using 1/2 cup total).   Repeat the process by laying a second sheet of phyllo dough over the first sheet, brush it with melted butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs until 5 sheets have been used. Spoon a 1-inch wide row of the crab mixture along 1 edge of the phyllo dough. Roll it up. Brush the top with butter and set aside. Repeat the entire process using the all the phyllo dough and crab filling.

Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. Score the crab strudel diagonally into 1 1/2-inch pieces and bake for 12 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Slice and serve.

If you are using a previously made batch from the freezer I had success pulling it out of the freezer 1 hour before cooking and resting at room temperature.  I remelted some butter and painted the tops again before baking.  Make sure your score marks are deep enough if you are using previously frozen dough so you get a good chance at the crab evenly warming.  At the same time, you don’t want to score all the way through or the dish will fall apart.   I had to bake closer to 18 minutes on the frozen logs.  The straight to the oven pieces needed 12 minutes max.

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Below are pictures just before going into the oven and as it came out as well as the crab mixture.




Simple mustard fish recipe; Will surely delight the crowd

I have Ina Garten to credit for this recipe, and I have made it many times and it has never disappointed.  Here is a link to one version of the recipe:

I love this recipe because it truly is foolproof, requires few ingredients, and takes no time at all to prepare.

I find it best with white fish, but it will work with a good piece of salmon.

Prep takes 10 minutes, cooking takes about 15-20 minutes, and cleanup is simple if you use parchment paper on your rimmed cookie sheet.  Basically you only need to clean a few measuring spoons and a small bowl along with the cookie sheet.  I think this dish would be more messy on a non-rimmed cookie sheet for clean up.


4 – 8 oz servings of fish fillets such as snapper – I have tried this with many white firm fish types from Whole Foods and usually prefer asking them for one large 3-4 pound fillet, making sure it has been picked over for bones.  I specifically ask them to hunt for major bones before taking the piece home.   Usually if I call late in the day with 2 hours notice they will have the fish waiting for me.  Ina in her show and book never mentions salmon and I am not sure why, as this works well on salmon as well.

Kosher salt and pepper (have ready 2 teaspoons of each but you won’t use it all)

8 ounces of creme fraiche (I never heard of creme fraiche before making this recipe.  It comes in a round tub like a cottage cheese or whipped cream cheese and usually is found near the fresh cheeses at your store.  I have only seen it come in one size.)

3 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard (recommend using both types and I usually go heavy when measuring)

1 tablespoon of Whole Grain Mustard (recommend using both types)

2 tablespoons minced shallots 1-2 shallots depending on size (do not skip as it adds a lot of flavor)

2 teaspoons of drained capers (I never add the capers because I find most people don’t like the taste as much as me)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Line sheet pan or rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper or can use ovenproof baking dish.  I find the cookie sheet with parchment makes cleanup a breeze

Place the fish skin side down on the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper to your taste

Combine the creme fraiche, 2 mustards, shallots, capers if using, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in small bowl.

Generously spoon sauce over fish.  I recommend mixing the ingredients in the quantity above but just using about half to three quarters of the sauce.  It is rich enough in half the quantity. Unfortunately I have found little use for the other half so usually I toss it down the drain.

Cooke the fish 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish until barely done.  Do not overcook it.

Serve hot or at room temp with the sauce of the pan spooned over the top.

I will upload a picture later this week when I make the dish!  You will be impressed with how professional the dish looks.

I usually serve it with Ina’s roasted root vegetables.  See separate posting.  That too is easy to make.