Monday, June 14, 2010

Start the Week

Some years back used to make a layered vegetable pie that could be beaten hot, warm, and even cold. This went down very well in demonstrations, as a way to show how to use up left-over vegetables in the fridge. The aim being to line a cake tin with shortcrust pastry, and inside add layers of part or wholly cooked vegetables of different colours - white (potatoes or parsnips), orange (carrots or butternut squash), and green (spinach or watercress). Finally one (or two) eggs were beaten with a little milk or cream and poured over the veggies to fill any gaps. The top could be left open (like a deep quiche) with a few sliced tomatoes to give added colour, or could have a pastry lid to turn into in a vegetarian version of 'pork pie'.
Here is a similar recipe that uses few ingredients (although you could add others) and worth perhaps making for our own party, especially as it can be prepared ahead, to be baked the following day. If I choose to do this, might make it in a long narrow tin that I have, so that it can easily be cut into slices.

Deep Vegetable and Cheese Pie: serves at least 6.
1lb 6oz (600g) large (maincrop) potatoes
3 oz (75g) butter
salt and pepper
1 lb (450g) leeks or mild onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves
1 x 500g pack puff pastry
7 oz (200g) Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 egg yolk blended with 1 tblsp water
Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks and boil in salted water until tender, then drain. Leave in the colander to dry off slightly then put into a bowl with one ounce of the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and mash until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 oz butter in a frying pan and cook the leeks or onions for about 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring in the thyme and garlic a couple of minutes before the end. Transfer to a bowl and also set aside to cool.
Take the block of pastry and remove one third. On a floured surface, roll the remainder into a circle large enough to line a loose-bottomed 8" (20cm) deep cake tin, leaving at least an inch overhang around the rim.
Once the tin has been lined, spoon in the mashed potato, smoothing the surface, but without pressing it down too firmly. Top this with the crumbled cheese, and finally spoon over the cooked leeks/onions.
Roll out the reserved pastry to a circle to fit the top of the cake tin. Place this over the leeks and brush the top with the egg/water mixture. Fold the overlapping pastry over to seal the lid, and brush this also with the egg. Use any trimmings to decorate the top of the lid (opt), brushing these also with the egg.
Cut a few slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape, then bake for approx 45 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
Note: this pie can be prepared ready to bake up to a day in advance. Keep chilled, then add a little extra cooking time to allow for this.