To celebrate the end of British Pie Week, here's another sneaky recipe to share from my upcoming book PIE!, published very soon by Absolute Press.
This is a big old vegetarian feast of a pie, and possibly my very favourite recipe from the book.
Harissa-spiced Borlotti Bean, Squash, Red Pepper and Chard Pie with Goat’s Cheese
I love chard, to my mind the texture of the stalks, in particular, make it far more interesting than spinach, but you can use spinach if you can’t get hold of chard. It’s also a pretty easy vegetable to grow, so if you have a corner free in your garden you might like to give it a go. The bright red stalks and deep green leaves make it a very attractive plant to grow.
Serves 6 (generously)
Takes 25 minutes to make (plus cooling), 1 3/4 hours to cook
6 tbsp olive oil
50g unsalted butter
2 onions, finely sliced
400g bunch rainbow chard, washed, stalks trimmed and chopped into 3–4cm pieces, and leaves roughly torn
1 large butternut squash (about 1.4kg), halved, deseeded and cut into 1cm-thick slices (I leave the peel on for texture)
2 whole bulbs of garlic
3 red, orange or yellow peppers, deseeded and cut into 3cm pieces
2 tbsp capers, drained and chopped
bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2–3 tbsp harissa paste
400g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
plain flour, for dusting
double batch of Shortcrust Pastry (see page XX)
250g soft rindless goat’s cheese, crumbled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
cumin seeds and sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
Pour a tablespoon or so of the oil into a large frying pan, add the butter and set over a low heat. Once the butter has melted, stir in the onions, then cook gently, uncovered, for around 30 minutes or until very soft and lightly coloured, stirring from time to time. Add the chopped chard stalks, then cover and cook gently for a further 10 minutes, before adding the torn chard leaves and packing them down into a snug layer. Cover and let the leaves steam and wilt for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside to cool completely.
Whilst the onion and chard mixture is cooking, roast the squash and peppers. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7. Spread the squash out over 1 or 2 large roasting tins and drizzle over a little of the remaining oil. Season well with salt and black pepper and tuck in the garlic bulbs. Put the mixed peppers in another roasting tin and drizzle the remaining oil over them, along with a little grind of salt and black pepper. Put both vegetables in the oven to roast until cooked and lightly coloured in places, around 35–40 minutes. The squash may take a few minutes more than the peppers, which is why they are cooked in separate tins. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Once cold, stir the capers and parsley through the peppers. Separate the garlic into cloves and squeeze the soft flesh onto the squash, leaving the cloves as whole as possible.
In a small bowl, stir the harissa paste through the borlotti beans and season with a grind of salt and black pepper. Cover and set aside at room temperature.
Once the vegetables are all cold, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Set a heavy baking sheet on a shelf in the oven to heat up. Grease and base-line a 23cm springform cake tin with non-stick baking paper and set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, cut the pastry into two-thirds and one-third, rolling each piece gently into a ball as you do so. Roll out the larger piece into a rough circle, about 4mm thick (the pastry needs to be slightly thicker here as the filling is so robust it needs a sturdy crust to hold it in) and use it to line the prepared springform cake tin, bringing it up the sides of the tin and leaving a little excess hanging over the edge.
To construct the layers, start by adding half of the roast butternut squash in a neatly packed layer at the bottom of the pastry-lined tin. Follow this with the harissa-spiked borlotti beans, spreading them out evenly, then add the roast peppers in an even layer. Next, add the wilted chard and onions mixture in an even layer, followed by the other half of the squash, making sure you level each layer before you add the next. Finally, sprinkle over the goat’s cheese evenly. By now your pie will be full to the brim!
Brush the rim of the pastry with a little cold water to dampen it. Roll out the smaller piece of pastry so it is slightly bigger than the top of the tin and about 4mm thick and lay it over the filling, pressing down firmly and rolling and crimping the edges to seal. Make a couple of slits in the top of the pie to let the steam out. Brush all over with beaten egg and sprinkle over a few cumin seeds and sea salt flakes.
Carefully slide the tin onto the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 50–55 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and deep golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before sliding a knife around the inside edge of the tin and releasing the springform. Carefully transfer the pie to a serving plate or wooden board. This is a solid pie – I find the best way to get it off the base is to lay a plate over the top of the pie and turn it over quickly so it is upside-down. Peel off the paper and base of the tin before covering with a serving plate and inverting it quickly so it’s now the right way up. Serve hot (it keeps its temperature very well) or warm, cut into thick slices. This pie is packed full of veggies so doesn’t really need anything to accompany it, but a big green leafy salad will add a nice bit of crunch.