Every year we have a veggie pie on Christmas Day and this year I posted a pic of it on Facebook. Several friends asked for the recipe, but as I never make it the same twice I knew I'd have to think very hard about what actually went into it, especially as I have to confess to being a tad merry when I was cooking it. So I promised I'd post it as soon as there was a lull in festivities, which would give me a chance to try to remember the ingredients. So here it is... for a large pie as in the pic:
Either make your own puff pastry or do as I did and buy some - life's too short, especially over the holidays. Grease and line the pie dish with the pastry, saving any leftovers for the shapes on top. Prick the pastry with a fork all over to let out any trapped air, then pre-bake at Gas Mark 5/190C for twenty minutes.
Cut into cubes 1 packet of smoked tofu and lightly fry in olive oil with black pepper and about a tablespoon of grated ginger. Turn the tofu a few times so that all sides get cooked, and just before it's done, pour shoyu over the cubes and leave to reduce for a couple of minutes.
Then saute all the vegetables in olive oil with salt and pepper to taste (if you don't have exactly these ingredients, providing you have the onions, you can just use a combination of what you have :
2 chopped red onions
1 chopped white onion
2 chopped leeks
1 diced courgette
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped stick of celery
2 red peppers
7 chopped cloves of garlic
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon of veggie bouillon
1 large sprig of sage, chopped finely
Mix the tofu in with the vegetables, put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down low and while this is cooking, make the sauce:
Saute four large chestnut mushrooms in olive oil, add salt and pepper and pour liberal splash of red wine over them as they cook. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornflower with a cupful of cold water and add this to the liquor, stirring constantly until it thickens (you may need to add a little more water here depending on how much of the oil and wine went into the pan initially). When the sauce is a gloopy consistency, remove pan from the heat, leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then stir in1 tablespoon of tahini, replace on very low heat stirring continuously until the tahini is totally absorbed (take care the sauce doesn't boil as the tahini will then separate).
Fill the parbaked pastry case to within a couple of centimeters of the top with the vegetable/tofu mixture, then pour the mushroom sauce over it evenly so that the case is packed to the brim. I seem to have unknowingly perfected the art of gauging how many vegetables to do, but if you find yourself short, just saute another onion or if you have it a bit more tofu.
As the pie is quite rich, I usually decorate the top with seasonal shapes to make it less stodgy. Every year I use different cutters from a selection of angels, stars, holly, Xmas trees, or as in this year's pie, reindeers and hearts.
When you've decided on a pattern for the top of the pie, roll out the remainder of the pastry, cut out the shapes and add to the top of your pie. Finish by brushing each shape with a little milk.
Return to hot oven Gas Mark 7/220C and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Serve with roast potatoes, roast root veggies, Brussels sprouts, sage and onion stuffing, apple sauce and red onion gravy and ENJOY! I know it's not a quick and easy recipe, but it's certainly packed with flavour.