Leek, Spinach, Lentil and Potato Pie
Who said pie has to always be sweet?
No, I know, most of you like sweet pie. Hey, I like sweet pie (see the end of this post for more on that)! But I also love my veggies.
This recipe PACKS in the veggies. Big time packs them in. That’s why it has to have such a long name – because it just can’t decide which veggie to promote the most (I know, lentils are technically pulses, but…potato potahto…)
You gotta try this pie, seriously. It may sound like a weird mix of ingredients or all kinds of things that maybe you don’t like.
It may not look that pretty (I tried with these photos, I really did, but the pie wasn’t giving me much).
The bonus about this pie is that you can make tons of filling – just keep doubling/tripling it – and make lots of pies and just freeze them! It freezes and defrosts really well. Now, this pie at the moment is not my favourite, but that may be because we moved last weekend and as we packed our kitchen up in advance I cooked three of these pies and we basically lived on them for – ooh, at least three or four dinners straight (then a sushi break) then maybe another few…yeah, that will make you sick of anything. It really isn’t the pie’s fault.
Another advantage is that it’s relatively easy to make, as far as pies go. You can just use a store-bought frozen pie crust, though the cookbook this recipe came from did provide an olive oil crust recipe that tastes amazing. My dad used to make it from scratch because he was retired and enjoyed that kind of thing, but I do not have the time to make pie crusts, so this recipe is simply included for those purists out there.
There is no shame in using frozen pie crusts, by the way. (I am not defensive.)
So why don’t I stop jabbering on about this pie crust and just give you the darn recipe? This recipe came from a cookbook (125 Best Vegetarian Recipes) by a Greek-Romanian chef, Byron Ayanoglu, who clearly makes a lot of things from scratch – he gave from-scratch recipes for the tomato sauce used in this recipe (I used canned) and a cucumber raita topping to serve with it (I serve mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt). But you know, if you’re adventurous like that, don’t let me stop you! When my dad did make everything from scratch it was 100 times better than my version, and my version was pretty delish. So if you do have the time to start cooking like Julia Child, go for it. You won’t regret it!
INGREDIENTS (makes enough filling for 2 store-bought pie crusts):
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz boiled potatoes, cubed (about 2 potatoes)
2 leeks, green and white parts alike, finely chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
2 cups cooked lentils (I use green lentils; they don’t get as soggy as red ones)
1 cup thinly shredded spinach, packed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
A sheet of Olive Oil Crust or one store-bought pie crust (see below for Olive Oil Crust recipe) – or use gluten-free crust
Greek yogurt to serve (omit if vegan)
1. In a large, deep frying pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Add salt and pepper and stir. Add potatoes and leeks. Actively stirfry until leeks have cooked down to 1/4 of their original volume; about 5 minutes.
2. Add tomato sauce and tomato juice; stir to bring back to boil. Reduce heat to medium. Add lentils and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until everything is piping hot and well mixed. Add chopped spinach, turn a few times and transfer mixture to a bowl. Add chopped parsley and mix in. Let mixture cool down for about 20 minutes, uncovered and unrefrigerated.
3. Pre-bake pastry case according to box instructions. Put half of the mixture into pastry case. If using pastry topping, whisk egg and milk together and brush over top. Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, until golden brown and crusty. Serve with Greek yogurt or creme fraiche. Remaining mixture can go straight into another pie crust, be baked and then frozen, or can be frozen on its own, to be cooked in a crust later.
Nutritional information per serving if one pie serves 4:
Olive Oil Crust
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Additional flour, as needed
1. In a bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, milk and beaten egg. Add liquid ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Using fingers or an electric mixer with dough hook, blend the liquids into the flour. This shouldn’t take long; the dough will have absorbed the liquids and have the texture of an earlobe. (By the way, I love this analogy for dough texture. Never heard that one before! ) If dough does not have the correct texture, work in another 2 tbsp of flour.
2. Transfer dough to a storage bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. When ready to use, knead any oil that may have seeped out back into the dough.
Ready for some chocolate?
Now earlier I did say I like sweet pie.
So, if you’re still hungry after dinner and, you know, they usually do sell those pie crusts in packs of 2…well, take just a few minutes and whip up this little something…
Chocolate pie, an amazing 10-minute dessert courtesy of the genius that is Chocolate-Covered Katie (she’s on my blogroll to the right, check her out). Would you believe me if I said it was good for you too? No? Well, I’ll let Chocolate-Covered Katie convince you of that. Below is my effort making her chocolate fudge pie recipe, and it was to die for: