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FOOD Easy peasy veggie pie

Tasting

Filling pastry with winter veg is a simple way of creating a filling meal.
TASTY PASTRY?Filling pastry with winter veg is a simple way of creating a filling meal. 

Easy peasy veggie pie


Food
Redmond Cabot

I recently popped in for a delicious lunch in Eithne Ring’s café, and we joked at the counter about me having a vegetarian version of their excellent Irish breakfast. We laughed heartily. The notion that somehow a vegetarian meal is not a ‘full’ meal, that it somehow lacks substance, persists. However, the reality is just the opposite.
Last week my pal Stevie and I had great fun with four kids under ten cooking a whole variety of vegetarian foods. We roasted okra (also knwn as ladies’ fingers) with balsamic and sesame seeds, and cooked a garlic-and-onion tomato sauce for pasta. (The women were doing something more important in the living room with goblets of wine.) We basically just had a look at what veggies we had in the larder and made things up as we went along, having great fun with the kids.
Thank you to those people who contacted me with their favourite vegetarian recipes – I’m planning on trying them out. This week’s recipe comes from close to home – our own kitchen table! The Brunette likes cooking dinner with little Penny. Anything that can be ‘mixed’ or ‘rolled’ goes down particularly well, so I found them one evening giving a go at vegetable pastries. They told me what to do, and I followed as best I could!
This is a good recipe. It adds a bit of life to the last of the winter veg that can appear tired around this time of year, and the process of ‘baking’ with pastry transforms a very simple idea into a smart dinner. A lovely, seasoned sweetness comes from combining these everyday elements and cooking them together.

Half-moon pastries with winter veg
A good recipe to start with; easy and compact. You will see how the lime, sugar and herbs affect the meat even before any cooking takes place. Drop the chillies if they don’t suit you.

What you need
(I am a fan of shop bought pastry, but the Brunette insists on making it from scratch, and under her instruction it's not too difficult!)

Pastry

  • 300g flour
  • 150g soft butter
  • 150ml cold water
  •  Pinch of salt

Filling

  • 250g potato
  • 150g swede,
  • 100g carrot
  • 1 white onion grated
  • Sprigs of parsley and thyme
  • Veg stock
  • 30g butter melted
  • Seasoning.

What you do
For the pastry, mix the flour and salt with cubes of soft butter. Toss roughly to coat first. Then just add in the water in medium doses and use your hands to bring out a firm dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough, fold it over in three sections, roll out again. Do this twice more and cover with cling film in the fridge for 30 minutes.
For the filling wash or peel the veggies and dice small, then add all the other ingredients,  butter last, and mix and bind with your clean hands. Cutting the veg into small shapes means no pre-cooking is required. All the cooking and mingling goes on inside the pastry in the oven.
Now, take pastry out from the fridge and roll out to a medium thickness. Cut 4 dinner plate-sized circles. Place a quarter of your veg mix on half of each circle, brush the pastry edges with water, and fold over the other half to create half-moon shapes. Press the edges with your fingers to indent and make a pattern. Place the pastries on baking parchment on a tray and bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 185 degrees. To make your pastry golden, you can brush the pastry with beaten egg and a splash of milk.
Serve with winter spinach or kale on the side.

Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.