When Mum asked “What shall we do for dinner?”, I immediately thought of Lentil Pie, as I had recently seen a recipe for this. The problem was I didn’t have the recipe with me. The basic ingredients that I could remember were carrot, celery and onion – the classic flavour base for many dishes. I also knew there was curry powder in the recipe too. And that was it. This was not a lot to go on, but this was no problem for Mum, she went ahead and with no recipe at all, created a delicious pie.
Flaky puff pastry
1 large onion
2 sticks of celery
1 clove of garlic
3 portobello mushrooms
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 can of lentils
1 stock cube
1 tablespoon flour
Butter (for frying)
First we rolled out the flaky puff pastry. We used ready rolled pastry squares, but rolled the square of pastry out thinner as it needs to be fairly thin so that it doesn’t go doughy in the bottom of the pie dish. Also this gave more pastry as we had a large pie dish to cover. Roll out another sheet for the top of the pie. When the pastry is rolled out, place it flat in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour, so by the time it is in the pie dish it is well rested and no more shrinking of the pastry should occur.
Peel carrots and place in a pot of water and set to boil.
Place butter in a hot pan, chop up the onion and fry in the butter. Add a small amount of sugar to help with the browning. To the pan add a chopped up clove of garlic and some salt. Let this mix continue to brown. Next chop up celery stalks into small pieces and add to the pan. Allow to soften, and then add chopped portobello mushrooms. Fry this until the mixture looks cooked. Next, add in about 1 tablespoon of flour, as this will thicken the mixture to create a nice consistency for the pie filling. Add in some black pepper and 1 teaspoon of curry powder and cook for a while to release the flavours. Add in 1 stock cube dissolved in about ¼ cup of hot water, and stir into the heated mixture. Then remove the mixture from the heat, and tip the mixture into a bowl, and allow to cool. Chop the boiled carrots into chunks and add to the mixture. Then tip in 1 can of lentils, and stir through. The coolness of the lentils will help to cool the mixture down, so it is not hot when it is placed on the pastry of the pie base.
Remove the pastry from the fridge. It should have had at least half an hour to rest. Also, cooling the pastry in the fridge makes it puff better when it hits the heat of the oven.
Line a pie dish with the rolled out pastry sheet.
Pie dish lined with pastry.
Then place the vegetable/lentil mixture into the pie. Make sure it has cooled enough. Warm is ok, but it shouldn’t be hot. The consistency of the mixture should be as in the following photo. It should hold together nicely and there shouldn’t be any liquid or the pie base will be doughy.
Pie filling in pie dish.
Then place a sheet of pastry on the pie to cover the top, trim to fit, and press down the sides to keep the filling in, and create a small hole in the middle to release the steam.
Bake at 220 degrees celcius for 30 minutes (plus we turned the oven off and let the pie remain in the oven for 5 minutes longer).
At about 20 minutes into the cooking, we moved the pie to a lower rack in the oven to make sure the pie base cooked and wouldn’t go doughy. At this stage the top of the pie was nicely browned, so we placed a sheet of baking paper on top of the pie to stop it browning anymore.
The finished Lentil Pie! It looked perfect and tasted great. A very fine result for having had no recipe.