This ticks all my Vegetarian Christmas boxes. It is substantial enough to fill me up (who wants a tiny tower of rice or a goat’s cheese salad on Christmas day? Not I!) and happily sits alongside all the traditional trimmings although I’m not sure Stilton goes with gravy so I omit the cheese of loveliness if I want to pour some of the brown stuff over my dinner. If I don’t, cranberry and port sauce or a madeira and mushroom drizzle make a lovely accompaniment instead!
I’ve added a little chilli kick, some thyme and a hefty dose of garlic because I think big flavours are important on the Big Day but if you are not a chilli fan, or you have some sensitive palates to feed, you can leave it out or replace it with a grind or two of black pepper to taste. I don’t add salt when I’m cooking with Stilton because I think it’s salty enough but do taste and adjust to your needs with a splash of soy sauce or a sprinkle of salt if you wish!
This recipe serves two people generously but easily multiplies up to feed as many as you have the dish to handle. It is the sort of pie entrenched meat eaters cannot resist so make a small one if you just want to make them drool a bit or make one large enough to share if you’re feeling generous – it is Christmas after all!
This pie appears in various guises, I always keep mushrooms, chestnuts and Stilton as the base flavours but sometimes add vegetarian sausages, sometimes put the sprouts into the pie and sometimes add a few butterbeans into the mix. Sage or rosemary replace thyme and a splash of port jazzes things up a bit – it’s as versatile and creative as your imagination allows it to be.
Sweet Potato Pie with Chestnuts and Stilton
- One red onion peeled and finely chopped
- 150 g chestnut mushrooms cut into large chunks
- 100 g whole cooked, peeled chestnuts
- 1 large orange fleshed sweet potato peeled and chopped into chunks
- 50 g vegetarian Stilton crumbled
- 2-3 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped
- ½ - 1 tsp dried chilli flakes optional
- 200 g ready made puff pastry
- My dish is oval and measures 20cm at its longest 15 across its width and has a depth of 6cm but please don't get too hung up on precise sizes for this one!
- Preheat your oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6
- Fry your onion gently in the olive oil until just softened
- Boil the sweet potato in water for about 6-8 minutes until just fork tender
- Add the mushrooms and chestnuts to your onions and continue to fry for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are browned and have released their juices
- Add the garlic and sweet potato along with the thyme and chilli flakes to your mushroom mixture, stir well and cook for another minute
- Turn off the heat and stir your stilton into the mixture
- Leave to cool a little while you prepare your pastry
- Lightly grease your dish and roll your pastry out until it is slightly larger than you need. Put your dish on the pastry and press down lightly to leave an imprint. Cut around the resulting imprint with a sharp knife.
- Use a star or holly shaped cutter to cut out enough shapes from the pastry to make your pie lid look nice and festive! Place your filling into your dish, top it with your pastry lid and brush with a little milk.
- Pop your stars on top, brush with a little more milk and put into the oven for 25-30 minutes until browned and puffy.