So I was going to make this post entirely about British Pie Week because in case you didn’t know, it’s British Pie Week (I know it’s Sunday but I’ve been busy pretending to work and watching channel 4 documentaries about all you can eat buffets), but I’m going to have to divulge from my chosen topic because THIS IS MY 50TH POST.
50 posts. That’s about 60 recipes on here. And a few reviews. And a lot of musing about absolutely nothing. I’m genuinely bowled over that a) I’ve stuck to something for more than a few months without getting bored or forgetting about it; b) I haven’t completely run out of things to talk about (though I do have entire posts dedicated to things like chicken nuggets and the joys of not wearing a bra – front page worthy material I know); c) people actually take a slice out of their day to read about my love of chicken nuggets and not wearing a bra; and d) I’ve worked out (very roughly) how to use WordPress. Pat on the back for me, pat on the back for you.
So back to pie week. Pie is a foodstuff that carries ambivalent connotations for me. On the one hand I think of Mum’s fish pie, crammed with muscles, whelks, squid, prawns and salmon in a thick white wine, cream and dill sauce topped with (always slightly lumpy, but I’m not complaining) mash with an extortionate amount of black pepper. Or our chicken pie, half with leeks and mushrooms for me and Mum, half with just mushrooms for Dad because he’s a child and refuses to eat leeks, topped with a flop of puff pastry decorated with as many pastry leaves, carefully carved out chickens and whatever else I could cram onto the pie before Mum got fed up of waiting and put it in the oven. Apple and blackberry pies, summer galettes, huge rhubarb tarts with double the amount of sugar to fruit. The good pies.
But then there was the school sausage pie. A slab of densely packed sausage meat that spanned over the entire industrial roasting tin, thick as a dictionary, topped with a gluey, claggy, dry-as-a-dehydrated-fart-in-the-desert shortcrust pastry. No gravy, no sauce, nothing to stick the pastry to the sausage slab. Just (questionable) meat, topped with (questionable) pastry, unavoidably served once a week. It’s been a good 10 years, but this charlatan pie still haunts my dreams, sending a shiver down me at the mention of pie.
But it’s been 10 years, Pip. It’s time to move on. It’s time to grab the pie by the reigns and reimagine it on my own terms. And those terms are single serving, budget, and cheesy. From stuff I found in my fridge, plus a quick trip to the shops to get some filo pastry (because homemade pastry can be saved for a time when I don’t have a 20 page research project and 2000 words of dissertation to hand in), I created this masterpiece. A veggie pie – although feel free to add whatever meat you fancy – this mushroom, kale, leek and pea filo pie perfectly serves two and is ready in under an hour. Drop your plans for a Sunday roast/take away/pasta and literally anything you can find in the fridge, and celebrate British Pie Week while you still can.
Mushroom, Kale, Leek and Pea Filo Pie
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 a leek (white end), sliced
A pack of mushrooms (I used a chestnut), quartered
A Large handful of curly kale, or spinach
A handful or two of frozen peas
Fresh thyme sprig
A Mug of chicken stock (I used a few dried porcini mushrooms too because I had them)
Splash of white wine, mixed with 1 tbsp cornflour
Dash of double cream
1 pack of filo pastry
Egg yolk for the glaze
Cheese (I used parmesan) to grate on top
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c fan. In a large frying pan on medium, fry the onion and garlic in a bit of oil until soft. Add the mushroom and leek and continue to fry.
- Add the kale and thyme, stirring before adding about 1/2-3/4 the mug of stock. Season well.
- When simmering, add the splash of wine mixed with the cornflour, and stir continuously until it begins to thicken. Add the peas.
- Add the dash of cream (about a tablespoon), and adjust the seasoning to taste. When you’re happy with it, transfer to a medium sized pie dish*.
- Take a sheet of filo and scrunch it up a bit, before placing on top of the pie. Do this with another, until the pie is covered. I used 2 1/2 sheets to cover the whole pie.
- Brush the pastry with a bit of egg yolk, and finely grate the cheese on top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is crispy.
*If you’re large frying pan has a metal handle and can go in the oven, just put pastry directly onto this and you’ll have a makeshift skillet pie!
You’ll also have a lot of leftover filo pastry. This can be frozen, or you can put them in muffin trays and use as cases for eggs to make mini quiche, jam to make mini jam tarts, more pie filling for mini pies – go full out 1980s and have a mini food party like in Bridget Jones.