Everyone has ideas about what motherhood might be like before it happens to them; hopes, fears, dreams…Once upon a time I imagined a busy kitchen, a lot of cooking and lots more happy eating. We have the first two, but it’s taken me more time to achieve the third. We have one vegetarian in the house (me), and two who eat meat (one of whom is a typically fussy toddler, so plain foods all the way!) The offshoot of all of this is that every planned meal, apart from a few favorite vegetarian dishes which we all eat, comprises two similar dishes, one without meat, one with, and a deconstructed version for the fussy eater, which all get cooked at the same time. And which require a minimum of meat handling…something I really, really dislike! So here is the first post in my recipe series: one vegetarian and two pies, the first being an adapted vegetarian crumble-turned-pie and the second, a more traditional chicken and mushroom pie (which I have never tasted, but gets the thumbs up every time!)
Vegetarian sweet potato pie
The original recipe which I have based mine on can be found on BBC’s Good food website. The crumble topping is delicious, but I don’t have time for it normally, and I’ve left out celeriac, as that is often missing from my local supermarket’s shelves. I always start all the chopping from this pie first, given there is so much to do!
- 1-2 leeks
- 2-3 small sweet potatoes
- 1 potato
- 1-2 carrots
- Vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 200ml crème frâiche
- 1-2 spoonfuls of mustard (I use whole grain)
- Frozen peas or other mixed vegetables
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (and egg to glaze)
Slice up the leeks, dice the potatoes and carrots. Take the puff pastry out to thaw.
Put them all in a large saucepan, cover with stock. Bring to boil, then simmer until tender. I always go too far at this point – you don’t want the vegetables to be too mushy, but it’s not the end of the world if they are! While the vegetables cook, I normally start with the chicken pie (well that’s probably why I overdo the vegetables…)
Okay, when vegetables are done, I scoop out the excess stock, so there’s just a little bit to help make the sauce. Mix in the crème frâiche, mustard to taste (not too much for me) and flour. And then the frozen vegetables for a bit of extra green.
Spoon it all into a lightly oiled casserole dish, and place the puff pastry lid on top. Don’t forget to make a hole for the steam to come out! Glaze with beaten egg and place in oven at around 200 deg celsuis for 30 minutes, or until pastry is crispy and golden brown.
Wow, writing that recipe has made me hungry. Okay here’s the second one:
Chicken and mushroom pie
- 1 leek or onion
- Around 300g diced chicken
- Several handfuls button mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Vegetable stock
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (and egg to glaze)
Put the chicken in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through. Once cooked, I get a fork and shred the chicken just a little bit more.
In the meantime, slice up the mushrooms, and onion or leek.
Sauté the leek and mushrooms until nicely done, then add in the chicken, and stock and flour, just so there is enough liquid for the pie.
Line the base of an oiled casserole dish with one sheet of pastry. Place the chicken and mushroom filling in, and put another piece of pastry on the top. Again, don’t forget to make a hole in the top and glaze with the egg (it’s not the end of the world if you don’t do this, but it just gives the pie crust a nice glow). And then into the oven, 200 deg celsius for 30 minutes.
For the fussy eater, some of the chicken gets cooked in puff pastry. Eventually I am sure she will eat some of what we are having…eventually!