Vegetarian Celebration Pie


A true showstopper (and a hunger stopper) this is a proper British pie in homage to Jamie Oliver’s Wellington. Hearty filling full of lovely stuff; roasted grapes and butternut squash, stilton and chestnuts, cashews and sourdough, onions and garlic, sage with coriander and rosemary, all encased in pastry which no human being (or dog) can resist. Every time we cook this, for 76-year-old confirmed carnivores or lifelong vegetarians, it’s a hit. Even passing canines want a bit and come back for more! And it’s always all gone, with nothing but requests for the recipe left.

That’s how a proper pie works, it comes out of the oven and onto a table, and everyone is sat in anticipation at what is under that golden-brown flaky crust, waiting for the first cut. Will it come out clean or fall apart? What’s inside? Am I going to get the best bit? It goes with any side; chips, salad, fresh bread and loads of butter, or just a flood of good vegetarian gravy. They don’t really care about the sides; they want the pie.



There are some basic rules of making a pie. The key thing is that you should be able to taste and distinguish every ingredient. They should complement each other. If you don’t notice the chestnuts, or the stilton, then why are they there? The herbs and seasoning should bring out the flavours but not be the main event. And, it should cut. No one wants a pastry case with the filling to one side or all over the plate. It must be good cold, and you should be able to pick up a slice and eat it straight out of the fridge. Not that you will have leftovers (see above!).

This pie can be easily glammed up for particular events, such as Christmas when you can swap the grapes for cranberries, add pink peppercorns if you want a bit more spice or cheddar if you aren’t a fan of blue cheese. Whatever you do, enjoy!


Ingredients – Serves 8 - 10

Step 1.

1 x Butternut squash – medium, cut into quarters lengthways and deseeded.

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp coriander seeds

2 sprigs rosemary, chopped

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Peppercorns

Olive Oil

2 dozen green grapes

Step 2:

280g block Tofu (we recommend Tofoo)

2tbsp dark Soy sauce.

Step 3:

2 red onions, roughly diced

5 – 6 fresh sage leaves

275g frozen spinach, defrosted and water squeezed out

180g vac packed chestnuts

2 slices sourdough bread, cut into 1” squares

4 cloves garlic, chopped

75g cashews, roughly chopped

220 – 250g Stilton

25g butter

Salt & pepper

Olive oil

Step 4:

2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry or 500 - 600g rough puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

You will need a pie dish, we use a 9.5” diameter and 2” tall one.

Optional:

Swap the grapes for dried cranberries

Add 1 tsp pink peppercorns


Method

Step 1:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan.

2. Place the coriander seeds, chopped rosemary, cinnamon, black pepper and salt into a blender and blitz until the seeds and peppercorns are broken up.

3. Drizzle the squash pieces with olive oil and cover the flesh with the blitzed mixture, roast in the centre of the oven for 40 mins, then remove and allow to cool.

4. Put the grapes in a baking dish, drizzle a little oil over then and roll them about to coat, and pop in the oven with the squash for the last 20 minutes. Once cooled slice in half lengthways.

Step 2:

1. Dice the tofu into ¼ inch chunks, marinate in the soy sauce for about 30 mins.

Step 3:

1. Take a decent sized frying pan, drop in the chopped cashews and toast for a couple of minutes, remove and reserve to one side.

2. Now fry off the onion and garlic in the butter until golden.

3. Scrape the herb mixture from the cooled squash into the pan and add the chopped sage.

4. Next, add 2 tbsp olive oil and the sourdough. Fry off, then add the drained tofu.

5. Crumble over the chestnuts, turning the mixture. You don’t want to mush up everything, you want nice defined pieces.

6. Now add the spinach and toasted cashews, season well with salt and pepper and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

7. With a dessert spoon scrape out the butternut squash and break it up into chunks, add to the bowl, crumble over the stilton including the rind and mix by turning (not mushing).

Step 4

1. Take a non-stick pie dish – we use the ones with little holes in the edge and base (available online) as you get a lovely crispy base.

2. Roll out your pastry as little as possible to fill the base, cut to shape leaving a ¼ inch lip rolled over the edge.

3. Add your mixture to halfway up the pie, making sure its pretty evenly spread and pushed down into the pie pan. Then arrange the sliced grapes over the top evenly.

4. The add the rest of your mix, again pushing down and making sure its an even spread.

5. Egg wash the ¼ inch edge you made earlier and place the next sheet of pastry on top. Make a small hole in the centre and eggwash.

6. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until the pastry as puffed up and is nice and deep golden.

To Serve:

Your pie should hold its own. If you are using a loose bottomed tin, place the pie on a can of beans or something, then put the pie on top and the ring should drop down. For a solid based tin, place a dinner plate on the top of the pie and turn it upside down (scary!!!) then quickly remove the pie tin and place your serving plate or board on top, and flip it over again, without squashing the pie. You should now have a perfect pie turned out! Slice into nice big chunks and serve with gravy or cranberry sauce.


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