Tag Archives: pastry

Lentil stew with mash

31 May

I have posted recipes quite similar to this before – mainly in ‘pie’ style.  This one is a big thicker, and still has the typical shepherd’s/gardener’s pie mash and pie crust.  Think of it as a kind of an unbaked gardener’s pie in a bowl.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups brown lentils
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 big carrot, diced up how you like
  • 1 regular size onion
  • 2/3 cup peas
  • some form of vegetable gravy – either home made or gravy powder
  • some puff pastry (you could alternatively use filo or a regular shortcrust)
  • potatoes, about 4 medium sized

What to do:

In a pretty large pot, cover your lentils in water plus two or three ‘finger-widths’ extra.  Less is more here, as you can always add in more water if they’re getting a bit dry.  Put on the boil, and once you’ve had a rolling boil for a few minutes, crumble the stock cube over the top (alternatively, if you make your own stock you can just cook the lentils from the word go in half-and-half water and stock). While the lentils are coming up to the boil, get your potatoes in the steamer (or in a pot to boil).

While you’re waiting for the lentils to cook, time to do the pastry biscuit.  The easiest way (particularly with filo or puff) is to use frozen pastry.  If you wanted to make your own, my recipe is over here.  I like to cut out shapes, but you can easily just use a hand cut circle.  Pop them onto a well-oiled baking tray and throw them in the oven.  If you want to get your pastry into a nice little ‘hat’ shape, pop them into a shallow pie dish:

Remember to keep an eye on your pastry, and pull it out of the oven when it’s golden on top.

Once the lentils are starting to look as though they aren’t too far away from being done, throw in the carrots (and, if you’re so inclined maybe some parsnip and swede, diced to roughly the same size).  A few minutes later, stir though the peas and the gravy – either a few heaped tablespoons of pre-made gravy, or a tea spoon or so of gravy mix.  Let that cook down.

Now, your potatoes should be pretty much done so get them organised with mashing.  The thing I find about steaming your potatoes is that you don’t really need to add too much else to them to create a nice, creamy mash.  I usually just put a little bit of pepper in and that’s it.

So – everything is done.  Time to put it all together.  Fill the bottom of your bowl with the lentil mix, make a nice round ball of potato to plonk in the middle, and top with your pastry hat.  Viola!

And what to do with the left over lentil and mash?

Yep, not a very pretty photo but a damn fine sandwich.  And, some gratuitous shots of the new kitchen:

Also – let me tell you that as I write this, I’ve got some red wine braised tofu on the stove.  I’m going to serve it with some parsnip mash and carrots.  Fingers crossed, but so far it looks, tastes and smells pretty good.

Rustic French Lentil Pie

1 Jul

A very short (I promise) rant to begin today:  why do non-vegans always exclaim that obviously non-animal derived products ‘are vegan!’  Someone once even asked me if I can eat potatoes.  Seriously people, use your brains for 30 seconds.  (This annoys me almost as much as people asking me if my chest-plate tattoo hurt.  Come on.)

But, onto the pie!

For the pastry you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour (plus a bit more for kneading)
  • 3/4 cup super-cold Nuttelex
  • water

For the pie you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown French lentils, cooked in slightly salted water
  • 1 leek (or 1/2 a leek, for those who are not as huge about the magical powers of leek as I am)
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 2 small-medium carrots
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1 small broccoli
  • 3/4 cup of peas (either minted or not minted)
  • vegetable stock powder (or a crushed cube)
  • gravy mix (if desired, not essential!)

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C, and ‘butter’ (or oil) a pie dish.

For the pastry:

Combine the flour and Nuttelex in the food processor, using a plastic S blade.  You can do this in a bowl with your hands, if you like, by working the flour and Nuttelex through your fingers until it forms ‘crumbs’ of pastry dough.  Add the water a small splash at a time, either with short bursts in the food processor or kneading it in with your hands.  It’s ready to roll out when it has combined together and comes cleanly away from the side of the bowl.  Place it onto a floured bench and work it with your hand – but not too much – before you start to roll it out.  Remember to twist and flip your pastry when rolling:  when you flip it over to work the bench-down side, rotate the pastry 90 degrees (but, always in the same direction!)

When it’s rolled out, carefully place it into a well-‘buttered’ pie dish.  Make sure that you really push the corners in well, and make the sides even, gently push a few fork-holes into the bottom of the pie.  Push or cut off the excess and leave to the side (this will become the lid of the pie).  Line the inside of the pie with baking paper and beans or rice (you can keep this rice for future blind-baking, but it’s probably best not to eat it…) and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the pie base is looking almost cooked.

For the filling:

Finely chop up the leek and onion, and dice the carrots and potatoes, and chop up the broccoli florets (and stems, if you like them) into bite sized chunks.  Saute the leek and onion, and boil the carrot, potato and broccoli in a separate pot, until they are almost cooked then set aside.  If you have not just cooked your lentils, or if you’re using canned lentils, place them in a big pot to warm up, with a pinch of salt.  Once they are warm, add a pinch of vegetable stock powder, gravy mix (if desired) and stir around until the lentil mix is totally warmed though.  If it starts to look too dry, add a small amount of water – but be careful not to make it too soupy (otherwise the filling will just pour out when you cut into the pie).  Add all the vegetables and combine together.  Add salt, pepper, or more vegetable stock to taste.

Fill the pie case with the mix, and let it rest down while you roll out the lid of the pie.  Work the remaining pastry only until it is one uniform lump again, and roll out as above.  Cover the pie with the lid, and press the sides around the rim of the pie case.  Punch a few fork holes in the top, wipe over with some rice milk and bake until golden brown on top.

I like to pull the pie out of the tin for the last two or three minutes of baking – but it is certainly not a requirement.

And, hey presto – a wonderful, warm, winter pie!

(And, with the small off cuts of pastry from the lid: cut them into small bits, brush with a bit of Nuttelex, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and bake until golden…  delicious with vanilla bean ice-cream!)

Faux-Chicken and Mushroom White Stew

29 Jun

The summer days are slipping away and the rain looks like it’s here to stay, and that only means one thing: putting all those lovely crispy salads and BBQ recipes away and pulling out warm, tasty, comforting winter food!  This one is a staple in my kitchen, even though I am not the hugest fan of faux-meat, S is still in that transition phase and, even so, he just likes the taste.  For this dish I like to use the Fry’s faux-chicken strips.  Firstly, I like Fry’s because S really likes the taste, and secondly, because all of their products are vegan and I think that’s worth supporting.

This stew is really good on it’s own but even better with pastry ‘biscuits’ or a lid.

For the biscuits you’ll need a sheet of puff pastry.  I use Borg’s, because it’s vegan and it says so in big bold letters right on the front (which is easy when S makes the trip to the supermarket!).  You’ll also need a scone-press, a cookie-cutter or, failing all that, a knife.  All you need to do is cut out circles of pastry, spray with olive oil or brush with some Nuttelex and pop them in the oven until their just starting to get some colour and then flip them over and back in until golden brown.

For the stew:

  • 1/2 pack of Fry’s Chicken Style Strips
  • 1/2 a medium leek – diced
  • 1/2 a decent sized brown onion – diced
  • 4-5 medium sized mushrooms – peeled and sliced
  • 1 big carrot – cut into rough cubes
  • 3/4 cup of peas (not minted!)
  • 1/2 tub of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Nuttelex
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sour cream substitute (like Tofutti Sour Supreme) to garnish, if desired.

What to do:

Start by browning off the leek and onion in the Nuttelex, in a large pot.  When it looks almost done, put in the faux-chicken strips, 1/2 cup of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt, and the diced up carrots and let it simmer away for 5-6 minutes, to cook the carrots and the faux-chicken though.  Next add the peas, nutritional yeast, the rest of the stock, 1/4 of a tub of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese and stir until the cream cheese has dissolved.  At this stage it should look like some insipid bath water – that’s okay!  Now is the time to add the mushrooms, and to slowly add small piles of flour and more cream cheese and continually stir until the sauce begins to thicken up, obviously, stop when you get to a consistency you like.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Top with a sour cream substitute if you like, and three or four pastry biscuits.  This makes a pretty good pie filling, too.