Earth Day Pie
We are very fond of hearty, winter food in this house and I had a fancy for a rich pie and mash type meal. I had a quick look over the internet and couldn't find exactly what I had in mind, so I thought I'd just put something together as I saw fit. As it's Earth Day (April 22nd) it seemed appropriate to name this vegan pie, full of veg that can be grown in any small patch, after the day on which it was created!
This pie went into an eight inch pie dish, which would serve four as part of a main meal. I served it up with mashed potato, sweetcorn and an onion gravy.
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
1 potato (baking size)
1 sweet potato
1 medium sized carrot
4 baby shallots (or onions if you prefer)
2 large garlic cloves
2 medium sized mushrooms
1/2 pint really thick vegan gravy (I used a whole sachet of Polish dark gravy in 1/2 pint of boiling water to make it really thick)
500g pastry (I use puff pastry, but shortcrust works just as well)
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried oregano (you can use a mix of your favourite herbs if you prefer, I just like sage and oregano as a combination!)
rapeseed oil for frying
milk substitute or prepared egg alternative for glazing
Pre-heat your oven to 200C
Put the vegetable stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Peel and chop the potato, sweet potato, parsnip and carrot into small slices or cubes and add to the stock. Remember that the smaller the pieces, the quicker it will cook, so I find that pieces around half an inch cubed or slices an eight of an inch thick are best. Boil for a short while and then allow to simmer until the veg is tender but not mushy.
In a small frying pan, heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil. Top and tail the baby shallots, taking off any outer layers of skin that are dry or damaged, then add to the oil. Finely chop the garlic and add this to the oil. Finally peel and cut the mushrooms into quarters, before adding these to the oil as well. As with the root veg, you want to gentle cook until tender, but not overly cooked.
When the root veg is tender allow it to cool a little, then drain off the stock and add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the shallot/mushroom/garlic mix to the bowl too. At this point you can pour in the think gravy and give it a good stir. Set aside while you see to the pastry.
On a floured surface prepare to roll out the pastry. Before you start rolling, sprinkle the pastry with the dried herbs so these are pressed into the pastry as you roll. Use the pastry to line the bottom of a pie dish and neaten up the edges with a knife.
Give the veg mix a good stir and pile into the pastry case. Lightly press out any air and smooth over the mound ready for a pastry top.
If possible always 'overfill' your pie filling to make sure that if it sinks
still have a nice full pie after cooking. I personally can't stand breaking
into a pie and finding air and pastry!
Brush the edged of the pie with milk/egg and roll out the remaining pastry. Drape the pastry over the top of the pie and press down the edges to seal. Cut off the excess pastry with a knife and using a fork or something similar, press around the edge to bind in a decorative way.
Make four cuts in the top to let out the heat and brush the top with almond milk. Place in a pre-heated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Ovens vary a great deal, so I advise you to start checking it regularly from about twenty minutes in....
Here we have my Earth Day pie. You can really make this recipe your own. You could use any combination of fresh veg as long as it's par-cooked first and you could even add some vegan meat substitute if you wished. The most important thing it to get your gravy nice and thick (custard consistency!) so that is mixes well with the vegetables and doesn't just run to the bottom of the pie.