Harvest Vegetable Pie

This was really good. This is a good full meal if you’ve been getting a lot of protein in your diet. If not, you may want to serve something else on the side. Other than that, this is a great, hearty and filling meal. You can use any veg that are in season and this one works especially well with fall produce. Also, although I made this with pork fat (because pork fat rules) you can do this as a vegetarian meal by swapping it out for the more traditional butter for the pie crust. The pork fat is worth the additional trouble as it gives the crust extra delicacy and flakiness and gives the whole dish a more robust flavor. You can render your own pork fat from home trimmings or get some fat trimmings from a local store. You can also get pre-rendered leaf lard here if you live in seattle: http://swinerymeats.com/ I haven’t had the pleasure of using leaf lard yet, but it is rumored to produce the best pastries and has very little to no porky flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 3.5 oz rendered pork fat (or 4 oz butter)
  • 8 oz (2 cups) AP flour (or a mixture of whole wheat and white flour)
  • 1/4 cup iced water (plus a splash more if using lard since it doesn’t have extra water like butter does)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion – chopped fine
  • 1 stalk of celery – chopped a little bigger than the onion pieces
  • 1 carrot – chopped fine
  • 5 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 lb button mushrooms (you can use chanterelle or a mix of any variety you like.
  • 1 small sweet potato – cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • small handful of broccoli – chopped into 3/4 inch pieces (you can use stems just cut them smaller)
  • large handful of cauliflower – chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (or white if preferred)
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (stems removed) (use a few pinches of dried if you don’t have fresh)
  • 2-3 leaves of fresh sage – minced fine (use a pinch of dried rubbed sage if you don’t have fresh)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 oz sharp cheddar – shredded
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg – beaten

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Chop or sliver up the pork fat or butter into small pieces. Add your fat, along with your flour into a food processor. Pulse a few times until the fat is partially incorporated and it begins to resemble coarse corn meal. Add most of the chilled water while whirring the food processor quickly. Add enough water to form a medium-firm dough. You can also do all this with pastry knives and your hands if you don’t have a food processor.
  • Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a ball and then squish it into a flat disk. Using a rolling-pin flatten each disk out enough to cover a 9 or 9.5 inch pie pan (whichever you have handy). Place one half into the pie pan, trim the edges and then place in the fridge to chill for about 20-30 minutes. With the other half, use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the disk into strips. Use a piece of saran wrap as the base and place half the strips in a general round leaving 1/2 inch gaps. Weave the other half of the strips in a simple basket weave to form a lattice. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and place on a plate to chill in the fridge until needed.
  • Removed the chilled pastry covered pie pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside. Use baking beads, dried beans, or dried rice to weight everything down and then bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Discard your beans or rice or you can save them for another pie in the future. Just don’t use them for regular cooking. When the crust is done pre-baking, remove from oven and set aside.
  • While the crust is baking, add some olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add your onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions start turning translucent. Add the mushrooms and some salt and pepper and cook until the shrooms lose most of their water and shrink down. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two until fragrant. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.
  • In the mean time, place a steamer inside a medium sized non-stick pot filled with 1/2 inch of water. Set over high heat until boiling. Place the layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom and then cover with the cauliflower and broccoli. Cover with a lid and let steam for a few minutes until veggies are just tender but not mushy. Remove steamed veg and dump on top of the onion mixture and allow everything to cool a bit.
  • Rinse out your pot you used to steam the veg. Add the butter and remaining olive oil and bring up to medium high heat. Add the 1/4 flour and using a silicon covered whisk (or any other non scratchy stirring utensil) continually stir the roux. It will start out very hard and clumpy and will loosen a bit as you cook it. Do not walk away and do not let it burn. After a few minutes add the milk, little by little, stirring constantly. Once it begins to boil and thicken (you may need a bit more milk if it gets too thick) remove from the heat. Add the cheese, stir to incorporate and then add the egg yolks and stir. Add the veg and stir to cover everything.
  • Add the sauced veg mixture into the pie crust and pat it down to an even layer that should come to about the top of the crust. Use your saran covered pie lattice to cover the top. It can be a bit tricky getting it on. Trim the edges. Brush the beaten egg over the top (you can also use some baking spray which is what I did, but the results will look better with an egg wash).
  • Bake for 30 minutes. You may need to broil the top a bit for added color if you didn’t use an egg wash.
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