Pie! Is there any more glorious food to eat at this time of year? Flaky, buttery pastry, hot savoury filling, it just goes with winter like uggboots and warm blankets. Post evil-flu-of-doom I was finding it a bit hard to find the energy to cook anything of interest until one day it struck me — pie!!
In the late nineties I was given a pie maker, and for a few months afterwards I found everything to be suitable fodder for pie fillings. From the predictably good lentil curry, to the inadvisable Tim Tam, to the innuendo-laden but particularly delicious Dave’s Spicy Surprise (a spicy tofu and kidney bean concoction invented by my excellent friend Dave), pie was my default food choice. As with the taco, pie is a format more than a recipe in itself in that you can put pretty much anything you can think of in a pie and it is still a pie.
Lentil and Vegetable Curry Pie
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1/4 head cauliflower
1/2 head broccoli
1/2 cup red lentils
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp hot curry powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 packet puff pastry
Chop onions, garlic, and red chilli and saute in oil. Once they are translucent, add mustard seeds and stir through. Rinse lentils and add to the pan.
Add salt and spices and stir through, cooking until they become fragrant. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup of water – it will bubble and begin to create a sauce. Reduce and simmer for five minutes. Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces and add to the pan. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are cooked but not overly soft. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
The pie maker I use has cutters that slice the pastry into the right size for the hollows in the pie maker. If you are not using a pie maker, this part might call for some improvisation. I suggest two circles, one bigger than the other. The larger circle will form your base. Pinch it in around the edges at regular intervals to create a “bowl”. The smaller circle will then be the lid that you place on top. Alternatively you could create a pastie or samosa shape – whatever works for you.
Resist the urge to overfill the pie – especially when you are using a pie maker it will just make the edges burst. You want it to be level with the top edge of the base but not protruding over. Pierce the top of the pie a few times, and cook according to the pie makers directions, or cook in a medium oven until pasty is browned.
What’s your favourite kind of pie?