It’s been a funny old month in terms of weather, one minute it’s warm and sunny the next it’s cold and wetter than an otters pocket. I could say this has affected my eating habit’s, but really I’m the sort of person that eats what I fancy when I fancy it, as a result I have been known – quite often, to gorge on hot soup, pies and roast dinners on a sweltering hot summers day, and likewise tucking into a gazpacho or a salad when snow is belting down outside. Today however, nature has tuned itself in to my taste buds, and with a distinct nip in the air I decided today was a pie making day.
I get pretty fed up sometimes by people who assume that vegetarian food is nothing but boring, dull, vapid animal flesh impersonators of nut roasts, soya sausages and fake bacon. I take no stock or pride in these sorts of dishes, I do however take pride in making something that’s delicious but just so happens to not have meat in it, and this recipe is just that. You could add bacon, chicken or some other meat to it, but why? Why add when nothing is missing.
Homity pie was very popular during the 80′s when the vegetarian movement kicked off big time. Cranks restaurant gave vegetarians not just a meal, but a varied and tasty selection of dishes that were affordable, nutritious and tasty. This dandy pie was one of their best sellers and one I shall be definitely making again, Enjoy.
For the pastry:
- 125g plain flour
- 125g wholemeal flour
- 150g butter
- 1 free range egg
For the filling:
- 800g of potatoes (Maris piper or Desiree are good) Peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 leek, sliced thinly
- 150g shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthways (snip off the root tip as you don’t want that in your pie)
- 75g washed baby spinach
- 200g strong mature cheddar cheese grated
- Small handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
- 250ml double cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. First thing to do is make the pastry, now I made this by hand but you can pulse the flours together with the butter in a food processor, then add the egg at the end to form a dough. If you are making this by hand it’s the same process. Start by adding the butter to a large mixing bowl with the flours and mix together with your fingers until it looks like brown breadcrumbs. Beat the egg in a cup then add to the flour, mix together until it comes together as a dough. Take a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin and place a circle of baking parchment in the bottom, grease the edges with a knob of butter. Take your dough and carefully roll out on to a floured surface until you have a rough disc. Place in the cake tin and using your hands work the pastry to fill the base and up the sides of the tin until the base is covered and you have about 3 inches worth of pastry on the sides. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
2. Put the potatoes in to a pan of salted boiling water and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until they are just tender, you don’t want them fully cooked as they will cook further in the oven.
3. As the potatoes are cooking take the shallots and leeks and add to a frying pan on a medium heat with a knob of butter and a trickle of oil. Gently fry until the shallots and leeks are soft and have taken on just a touch of colour. Add the garlic and fry for a further couple of minutes to take the edge off the garlic. Place the shallots and leek mix into a large mixing bowl along with the cooked and drained potato chunks. Pre heat the oven to gas mark 6 (200°C/400°F).
4. Fold in the spinach leaves, half of the grated cheese in with the potatoes, shallots and leeks, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and grate in about ½ a tsp of nutmeg. Mix well then pile into the pastry case. Pour the double cream over the top so it seeps down through the filling, top with the rest of the grated cheddar and bake for about 35-45 minutes until the cheese topping is golden and bubbling and the pastry is golden brown. Leave to cool to room temperature before removing the pie from the tin. This pie is best eaten luke warm or cold.