Cheddar Vegetable Pie

IMG_5518Mom used to make a cheese noodle pie that was so incredibly good, but when looked at through today’s lenses, makes me think that perhaps it was a little too good, too much starch, and too much fat.  It was a great pie to take along to a potluck, a lunch en route, or for a weekend family dinner.  This recipe appeals to me for exactly the reasons that I loved Mom’s pie.  Everything is in it, just add a salad or some raw vegetables, and we’re good to go.

The pastry is just a simple short-crust, and the filling has a few staples, but there is room for experimentation (in other words – what you have on hand).  Make the pastry ahead of time, so it can rest in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight. 

Click here for printable version.

11” x 7” pan or a deep 9” pie plate – serves 6

Ingredients

1½ recipe of Basic Short-Crust Pastry – using 2¼ c flour, 5¼ oz/150 gr of butter, 1 large egg, & 3-4 T milk or light cream – form into 2 discs, cover & chill.

10 oz spinach (in a pinch you could use a box of frozen, but fresh is better here)

2 T oil

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

a healthy pinch of chili flakes

Zucchini – total of about 12 oz

4 oz Arborio rice (uncooked)

5 oz grated aged cheddar – I use orange cheddar to add a bit of colour to the filling

Pinch of salt

A few grinds of black pepper.

2 large eggs for the filling

1 T Dijon – grainy or smooth

1 egg

2T milk

1 T sesame seeds

Directions

Make the pastry as directed, chill & reserve covered in plastic wrap.

Wash the spinach, spinning off most of the water.

In a deep skillet, without adding any extra water, cook the spinach over medium heat until just wilted. IMG_5497

Remove the spinach from the pan, and let cool.

While the spinach cools, dice up the onion, and mince the garlic.

Wipe dry the pan you cooked the spinach in.

Add in the 2 T of oil, and heat on medium.

Add in the onion, and cook gently for 5 minutes or so, until soft & transparent.IMG_5500

Add in the garlic & chilies; continue cooking for another minute or two.IMG_5502

Let cool.

Trim the zucchini, and chop into ½” size pieces.IMG_5498

Squeeze the cooled spinach as dry as possible, and chop.

Into a large bowl, add the chopped spinach, zucchini, cheddar, rice, salt, pepper, and cooled onion mixture.

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IMG_5507

Stir well.IMG_5508

Whisk together the 2 eggs and the mustard.

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Pour onto the spinach and zucchini mixture.IMG_5509

Stir well, and let it sit while you prepare the crust.IMG_5510

Place a baking sheet that is large enough to hold the prepared pie, into the oven to preheat.

Preheat the oven to 400°

Using one disc of dough, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, big enough to easily cover the pan, with overhang.

Lay it into the pan with an even amount of overhang all round.IMG_5505

Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork, all over, to keep the crust from becoming soggy.IMG_5506

Roll out the second disc about the same size.

Spoon the filling into the bottom crust, using a spatula to even it out and smooth it to the edges.

Whisk together the remaining egg & 2 tablespoons of milk, to make a pastry wash.

Brush the wash all along the edge of the bottom crust where it will meet with the top crust.

Lay the top crust over the filling.IMG_5511

Gently press the two crusts together.

Trim along the edge of the pan.IMG_5512

Crimp the crust edge.IMG_5513

Brush the egg wash over the whole top of the pie (you won’t need it all).

Sprinkle with the sesame seeds.IMG_5514

Place the pie directly onto the preheated baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 325°, and continue cooking the pie for another 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.IMG_5517

To switch it up, I would suggest replacing the zucchini amount with another vegetable, such as mushrooms, broccoli, or eggplant.  The moisture content is essential to cooking the rice.  Perhaps add some chopped sundried tomatoes, grilled red peppers, or chopped olives to add a different flavour.

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