There is a howling North Easterly gale blowing out there – it is biting! On our walk to school today we worried about the daffodils, waving their yellow heads in defiance, and wanted to fold them back down into their wintery beds. Spring has clearly wandered off again for a while and my mind has turned back to warming, welcoming comfort food for their return this evening.
This is a recipe I have been working on for a while and I’m pretty convinced that it is now The Perfect Vegetarian Pie. I took my inspiration originally from a recipe in Simon Rimmer’s ‘More from the Accidental Vegetarian‘, an excellent book full of temptations. My version has chestnuts, green peppers, garlic and thyme added to the mix and is tucked up under a blanket of golden puff pastry.
500g Jus Rol puff pastry block
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 green pepper, diced
400g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
200g pack of Merchant Gourmet whole chestnuts (or tinned chestnuts, or fresh ones in season roasted and peeled)
1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
2tbsp vegetable oil
1tsbp tomato puree
1tbsp soy sauce
2tbsps fresh thyme finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
200g crumbled vegetarian Stilton cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200°C and remove the pastry from the fridge while you make the filling
- Fry the onions, mushrooms and peppers in the oil for 5-10 mins until the mushrooms have released their juices and most of it has fried off
- Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute
- Add the chestnuts, tomato puree, soy sauce, thyme and a splash of water (2-3 tbsps just to make a little sauce)
- Cook briefly, add plenty of black pepper to taste and place in an appropriately sized pie dish
- Crumble the Stilton cheese over the top
- Roll your pastry out to fit and overlap a bit, wet the edge of the dish with water
- Pop your pastry on top and crimp it into place with your fingers
- Make a steam hole in the top, brush with a little milk and put it in the oven for about 20 mins until it is all puffy, golden and crisp and your house smells divine
Serve with buttery mashed potato and in season purple sprouting broccoli.
This can easily be made suitable for vegans. I love that Jus Roll puff pastry is vegetarian society approved and suitable for vegans so if you swap the Stilton for Blue Style Sheese or leave it out altogether you have a delicious vegan pie! Equally, if you have blue cheese haters in the family, make two pies in smaller dishes and leave the cheese out of one!