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Deep Dish Spring Pie

Deep Dish Spring Pie

Last weekend Spring arrived here in Vermont, late, but all at once. The day before spring arrived the heat was still on and there was fresh snow on the ground in the morning. It was disheartening. So I did one thing that I could do and that was to cook spring into being.

I tend to sit down on a Sunday and look through cookbooks, it’s one of my most favorite things to do. I’ll choose five or six books and poke around and find a few things that catch my eye to cook that week. Sometimes it’s a baked item, sometimes is a salad, sometimes it’s an old favorite. Anyway, I had stumbled across this recipe for Deep-Dish Leek and Greens Pie and I just knew it was going to fit the bill for this particular week.

Leeks have started arriving in the market. Asparagus isn’t far behind and there will be local spinach before we know it. We had some leeks in the house and some (non-local) spinach. Plus, I have my fantastic new marble counter topper (custom made from Johnson Marble and Granite in Proctor) so I’m looking for all kinds of excuses to makes pies. (Hubby is planning to come home with kidneys as soon as he can locate them so we can make a true traditional steak and kidney pie – though now that spring has arrived it seems a bit wintery, so it may have to wait.)

Back to the Leek Pie, it sounded hearty, it’s flexible (because actually, you can throw any vegetable you want into this pie) and it actually came together pretty quickly. In fact, the day I made it, I made it in morning so all we had to do was the final 20 minute cook before we sat down for dinner. It was bright green and spring-like but cozy enough to actually fit a day of snow squalls and sweatshirts. But, by the next day when the windows were open and the garden furniture was dragged out of the garage, the leftovers didn’t seem awkwardly out of place. Leftover meal number three from this pie made a great side vegetable for our Sunday roast. 

The recipe came from Anna Jones’ terrific cookbook A Modern Way to Cook. I highly recommend this book and the one that came after it, A Modern Way to Eat. They are vegetarian cookbooks and filled with tasty, satisfying recipes and only a few truly weird ingredients. You can read all about Anna Jones over here.

Deep Dish Spring Pie

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat or spelt flour
  • a few springs of fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon zested
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

For the filling

  • olive oil
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 2 bunches asparagus, chopped I didn't have any asparagus so used broccoli, I say anything green goes.
  • 7 oz frozen peas
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 2/3 cups stock vegetable stock, if you want to keep this dish vegetarian
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper

For the crumble topping (I changed up the ingredients here. Again, I think you can throw whatever you'd like into your crumble topping)

  • 2 handfuls oats
  • 1 handful hazelnuts
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 415F.

  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour, herbs, lemon zest and salt into a food processor. Pulse a few times, then add the olive oil and pulse again until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. Add about 5 tablespoons of cold water and pulse until it forms a ball.

  3. Place dough on a floured surface and roll it out until it is larger than your deep dish pie plate. Place in pie dish, fitted along the bottom and up the sides. Prick all over with a fork.

  4. Blind bake for 12 minutes. There is no need to use pie weights.

  5. While the crust is baking, make the filling. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large pan and add the leeks. Cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes. Add the asparagus (or broccoli or other hearty green vegetable) and peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

  6. Add the spoonful of flour and stir for a minute. Then add the stock and simmer until the gravy thickens.

  7. Take it off the heat and add the cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool.

  8. Make the topping. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.

  9. Let the crust cool for a bit. Fill with the cooled filling. Top with the crumble topping and bake for 20 minutes.

  10. If you want to wait and bake your pie later, reserve the crumble topping until you are ready to go.

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