In keeping with my desire to go vegetarian at least one day a week, I found a flavorful slow cooker recipe that I made for dinner last night called, “Slow Cooker Southwestern Pot Pie.” I found this clever recipe on the RecipeZaar.com site. I refer to it as clever because it really ends up looking like a pot pie when it’s finished: a thick top crust covering a stew-like concoction underneath, only this is made entirely in the slow cooker—no oven necessary!

Here’s what you need:

  • A 3 ½- to 4-quart slow cooker (I used my round 4-quart model)
  • A small skillet (for sautéing the onion and carrot)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus 1 teaspoon olive oil (Note: although the recipe on the RecipeZaar site doesn’t indicate how all of the olive oil should be used, I assumed that one tablespoon is intended for sautéing the onion and carrot, because the other tablespoon is used for the crust, and the one teaspoon of oil is used for oiling the slow cooker crock.)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 3 cups dry pinto beans or 2 – 15.5-oz. cans of pinto beans, drained (I used the canned beans basically for convenience, rather than the dried beans, which must be soaked and cooked prior to using in this recipe.)
  • 1 jalapeno chili, minced (remove the seeds and white ribs for a milder flavor)
  • ¾ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or other soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk or soymilk

Here’s what to do:

  • The dried beans must be cooked prior to using in this recipe, but they can be prepared in the slow cooker the day before. On the day before you wish to make the pot pie, pick and rinse a ½ lb. of dry beans, and soak them in water all day. (Make sure the water is one inch above the beans.) Drain the beans, dump them into the slow cooker, cover with fresh water, and cook them on the low heat setting overnight. In the morning, the cooked beans are ready to drain and use in this (or any) recipe.
  • In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion and carrot until softened (about 5 minutes).
  • Lightly coat the inside of a 3 ½- 4-quart slow cooker crock with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
  • Transfer the sautéed onions and carrot to the slow cooker, and add the bell pepper, garlic, corn, pinto beans, and chilies.
  • Stir in the vegetable stock, tamari, and cilantro.
  • Cook on the low heat setting for 5 hours.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and mix well. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the milk, and mix until just combined.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat the topping into a shape similar to the shape of your slow cooker.
  • Place the crust on top of the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn the heat setting of the slow cooker to high, and cook for 1 hour more.
  • If you want this to be a vegan dish, use the soy milk rather than the cow’s milk.

This was a really good dish—another great one-pot meal. And, of course, I have to mention that there was an adequate amount of leftovers so that I can have another tasty vegetarian dinner tonight. (Love those leftovers!)

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