Coming from a family that enjoys its meatier treats, my first Christmas dinner as a vegetarian was left down to me to organise. Individual meals are often harder to prepare, on the basis that the majority of fresh produce will be bought in bulk and seeing as I’d rather cook my own meal from scratch, it also needs to be a minimal size in the oven so as not to clash with the roast potatoes/parsnips/Yorkshire puds etc.
This led me to one conclusion: a pie. A crispy, shortcrust pastry pie with hearty winter vegetables and thick brown gravy. As it’s Christmas, I’ve stuck to richer ingredients too, and kept it simple: any kitchen should have these ingredients as standard. If you’re going to put the pie with other Christmas treats, such as the Brussel sprouts, carrots, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, vegetarian stuffing and asparagus that I had, I’d suggest saving half for leftovers on Boxing Day!
Hearty Winter Vegetable Pie
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp water
1lb bread loaf tin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 red onion
8 chestnut mushrooms
1 small carrot
1 small potato
2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
3 tbsp vegetarian gravy granules
- Start off by making your shortcrust pastry dough: sieve the flour into a large bowl and slice up room-temperature butter into fine cubes.
- Plunge your hands into the bowl and firmly rub the mixture between your fingers to create breadcrumbs. If you find large chunks remain, shake the bowl to bring the lumps to the surface.
- Once breadcrumbs have been formed, slowly add little amounts of water so as to stick the mix together into a dough. Roll the ball around the bowl and add a little flour to its sticky surface, then wrap in clingfilm so as to preserve its freshness.
- Now onto the filling: cube all of your ingredients and slice the mushrooms.
- In a pan, heat the oil and then fry all the vegetables; add the dried mixed herbs and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Set your oven to 200 C and leave to preheat.
- During the remaining time, lightly grease the bread tin and roll out your dough on a floured surface. Cold hands and a floured rolling pin make this easier.
- Line the tin with two thirds of the dough, leaving a large amount around the edges. The pastry will shrink in the oven so this prevents it from spilling out.
- Now make up your gravy in a jug and add to the pan. Take off the heat and pour into the lined tin.
- Wet the dough along the sides of the tin using a brush and milk or whisked egg yolk and place your remaining rolled out dough on top so as to make a lid.
- Slice off any overhanging dough, still leaving at least 2cm along the edges to prevent leaking filling.
- (Optional) use any remaining dough as decorations – I chose to do little leaves!
- Pop in the oven for 25 minutes to bake, or until the lid is golden brown.