The day after our big Thanksgiving day feast, I was already thinking about what to make for Christmas. Sad but true! And this veggie pie is going to be the main event. The test run was so tasty, I might even be making it on Thanksgiving next year instead of the dreaded bird…
This pie was inspired by Thanksgiving classics from the South in America – corn pudding and sweet potato casserole (‘pie’). I’ve based my recipe on the ’empanadas de humita’ I ate when I studied in Argentina – a sweet mix of red pepper and sweetcorn in a cheesey sauce. I’ve bulked it up into a full-size pie by adding sweet potato and roasted jalapenos. I might even try adding a bit of sage for the Christmas version, and you could certainly tweak the recipe with any of your favourite veggies. It’s lovely and moist even without gravy and it should ensure you don’t have any vegetarians feeling left out this holiday season…
Holiday vegetarian pie
Inspired by empanadas de humita, makes an 8-inch pie
- about 400g sweet potato or pumpkin, peeled and cubed (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1 large red pepper, diced
- 3-4 large green chillies (ideally jalapenos), cut in half lengthways and deseeded
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp fresh or dried thyme
- 1 tin of sweetcorn kernels, drained
- about 3 tbsp flour
- about 300ml milk
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- a medium ball (about 150g) mozzarella
- shortcrust pastry (store-bought or double the recipe and follow the tips here)
- Make your pastry if you’re doing it yourself (it’s not that hard!) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
- Heat your oven to 200C. First roast your vegetables – the pumpkin or sweet potato (I prefer sweet potato as it’s slightly firmer, but pumpkin is more seasonal so up to you), the red pepper and the chillies in a bit of oil and seasoning. Don’t worry too much about the heat of the chillies as the roasting and deseeding will make them milder.
- Roast the veg for about 15-20 minutes, until just starting to soften but with a bit of bite as they will cook more in the pie. When cool enough to handle, chop the chillies into a small dice.
- While the vegetables roast, cook the onion with the thyme in a saucepan in a bit of oil or butter until softened – about 10 minutes.
- Add the flour (and a bit more butter or oil if the pan is too dry) and cook for 2-3 minutes to remove the flour taste.
- Add the milk to the flour and onion mix, and heat over medium heat, stirring often until the flour mix dissolves and the mixture thickens.
- Add the sweetcorn, paprika and grate in the mozzarella and season to taste.
- Take the mixture off the heat, and stir in the roasted vegetables and set aside.
- Roll out half your pastry and place in an 8-inch pie dish and ‘bake blind’ with some baking beads for about 10 minutes until just starting to colour.
- While the pie base is cooking, roll out the other half of the pastry. Once the pie base is ready, pour in the filling and cover with the rest of the pastry. Brush with an egg yolk or a bit of milk for a more golden colour.
- Bake at 200C for about 30 minutes until the filling is hot and bubbling and the pastry is crisp and darkened.
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