Creamy Fries in the Crock Pot (Comfort Food!)

This was a complete experiment, but my non-vegan son asked for seconds (instead of meat!), so I consider that a positive review. It’s getting colder outside, and I was looking for an easy Crock-Pot dish that would be a definite comfort food, but would also be definitely vegan. Here’s the first run… Be sure to read notes for modifications I’ll make on the next try.

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1 bag frozen french fries (try for a natural, lower fat variety…I used a 24 oz. bag)
1 to 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (or veggie of your choice…experiment)
2 T. rice flour
2 T. Earth Balance butter flavor sticks (or your choice of shortening)
1 t. minced garlic
1 c. almond milk
up to 2 c. vegetable broth
1 t. rosemary
1/4 to 1/2 c. french fried onions (optional)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Use cooking oil spray to coat the inside of the Crock Pot. Layer half of the fries on the bottom of the pot. Cover with the frozen peas.
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Melt the shortening over medium high heat and saute the garlic. Lower the heat and add the rice flour to make a roux. Slowly add 1 c. vegetable broth and stir to begin a cream sauce. Add in 1 c. almond milk and continue to stir.
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IMPORTANT! I stopped with this amount of liquid, and part way through the cooking, I realized that the consistency would be too dry. I had to add 3/4 to 1 c. warmed vegetable broth to the crock pot to be sure to have enough liquid to cook the peas and not be “uncreamy.” Next time I will:
Add the final 1 c. vegetable broth and cook until a creamy gravy consistency.
Add 1 t. rosemary (This is a small but lovely addition to the flavor!)
Salt and pepper to taste. Remember that your vegetable broth may have added salt, so taste the cream sauce first.
Pour half of the cream sauce over the fries and peas.
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Add the rest of the fries. If desired, cover with french-fried onions. (I did…the flavor is savory and rich…but many of you may not want to use the processed product. Sauteed onions would be nice too!)
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Pour the rest of the cream sauce over the top. Next time mine will show more sauce…I’ll modify as noted above.
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Cook on low for 6-8 hours. As long as you choose low-fat fries, this is sinful without being unhealthy. The great thing is that it also makes a satisfying side dish for non-vegans. I served it to my non-vegan family as a side dish with chicken…see below. Let me know if you try it and enjoy it! Best wishes!
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