Okay, no word of lie, this is pretty damn good pie. The filling is a delicious mix of smoky, spicy and sweet, topped with just enough pastry to make it seem a little sinful, but not enough to make it that sinful, really. It's a great pie to make for dinner guests, or you might just make for a family dinner. Or do what I did, make for guests that can't make it to dinner, and then plan to eat it all yourself!
Normally I'm not a recipe fascist, by any means. I often say substitute and swap ingredients as much as you need, or within reason. But for this pie, if you really want the experience I just had in eating it - then you have to do as the recipe says - at least for the flavourings/spices. The smoked paprika is very essential to this working. Don't use standard paprika - go buy some smoked. It's available in Asda and Morrisons and wherever, so do make sure to get that in.
You can be more free and easy with the vegetables, that's okay. I didn't weigh them and veggies aren't an exact science. If you have four large sweet potatoes, not five medium ones, use them. I used the bits of leaf from the celery too for this, and nobody (me) noticed. The main thing is you can fill your dish. But the sweet potatoes do really add to the sweetness of this dish, along with a little maple syrup, so definitely use more of them than any other vegetable.
This recipe can easily be made gluten free - see the recipe tips - and if you want to be healthy and not have the pie crust, it can stand alone as a stew, to eat with fresh bread and red cabbage.
Anyway, I'm really stuffed from my portion of the pie that I'm going to end up eating all of. Therefore, I think I need to rest up and let my belly settle! So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and multi-pie!
Further recipe tips:
1. If you have no Trex or pure vegetable fat for the pastry, you could use a non-hydrogenated vegan margarine.
2. I like spicy everything - I will let you reduce the amount of chilli if you don't want a little kick.
3. Don't forget to save your chickpea brine, for brushing the pastry, and you could even make meringue with it later!
4. This recipe can easily be made gluten free by swapping the standard flour to a gluten free brand, and by swapping the soy sauce for tamari. If you want a healthier version, don't bother with the crust at all and just have some rice with the filling.
Smoky sweet potato & chickpea pot pie
1 tbsp refined coconut oil, for frying
1 onion, chopped
5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into inch cubes
3-4 medium carrots, scrubbed and diced
3 sticks celery, sliced
1 can chickpeas, drained (but save the brine)
1 can chopped plum tomatoes
½ can water (use the tomato can)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tbsp smoked paprika
½ tsp hot chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 ¼ cups white flour
⅓ cup vegetable fat (I used Trex)
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
6 tbsp water
1. In a stock pan, heat the coconut oil on medium-low then fry the onion for a few minutes, before adding the celery and carrots. Fry for around 8-10 minutes until the onions and celery have softened then add the minced garlic and fry a couple minutes more.
2. Add the sweet potatoes and the chopped tomatoes and their juice. The use the can to measure out a half can of water, and add that to the pan. Mix in the smoked paprika, chilli powder, soy sauce and maple syrup. Add some salt to your taste (about ½ teaspoon for me).
3. Bring the pan to a high simmer, then lower the heat so it's a medium simmer, and put the pan lid on. Cook the vegetables for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sweet potato has softened but not gone mushy. Turn off the pan, stir in the drained chickpeas, and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
4. Preheat the oven to 190 C (this is for fan-assisted ovens – adjust time for non-fan assisted ovens). Pour the vegetables into a deep pot pie or casserole dish, to be ready for the crust. Make the pie crust.
5. In a small bowl, sift in the flour and salt, stir in the nutritional yeast flakes, and then using a butter/cutlery knife, cut in the vegetable fat. With your hands, rub the fat into the flour, until it's like breadcrumbs. Add a few tablespoons of the water, and stir in with the knife, then knead with your hands. If needed, add more water, tablespoon by tablespoon until you have a dough that can be easily rolled without being sticky.
6. Roll the dough on a floured board until it's able to cover the pie dish. This is a nice, thick crust so there should be enough to cover thickly, then have some pastry to cut off and decorate the pie with. When the dough can stretch an inch or so over the dish, place it above the filling and then crimp it down over the sides of the dish. Cut the excess pastry dough off and use to decorate the top of the pie, brushing the chickpea brine under the decorations to stick. Make a couple of slits in the pie, and brush chickpea over it to help it brown.
7. Place in the oven on a middle shelf and bake for about 30-35 minutes, about half way through, brushing more chickpea brine on.
8. This pie is filling enough to serve on its own. If you want to make it go further than four portions, serve with some steamed broccoli and mash!