Monday, November 23, 2015

The Pie Without a Shepherd

I've mentioned that a baked spud can be alright without oil or butter if you you use hummus and some other nice flavours instead, but there's probably oil in the hummus. I've used the chickpea cooking water rather than oil to make hummus, and it's OK, but you don't get that lovely smooth texture, and, day by day it seems to become grainier. Still, it's clear that you can significantly reduce yer oil consumption without too much hardship.
If I use a spread at all, it's a thing called Pure. It's not nice, it's not horrible, it just is, and does the job for my current snack of choice, an onion bagel topped with that stuff and Marmite.
When it comes to sweating or frying veg, Esselstyn, and others, recommend steam frying. This, frankly, is a pain in the arse, and requires the same attention you'd give a risotto. Essentially, you put yer onions and whatnot in the pan and add tiny amounts of water to stop it all sticking and burning, then keep adding as it evaporates. I do it on the weekend, but in the week? Fuck that.
A couple of potato topped pies have turned alright. No meat, dairy or oil, was involved. I can't quite remember exactly what I did to the spuds but there was definitely no milk, butter or cheese. As far as I can remember it was a mix of potato, sweet potato and parsnip, all I used to mash 'em with was a bit of almond milk. I then added in a load of kale and spinach that I had steam fried down and a load of nutritional yeast flakes before topping the lentil/veg mix and finishing in the oven. It sounds like a faff,  and it is a faff, but a faff you don't mind, coz it winds up lovely. Even the bloody cat likes it. The little ginger bastard.
Shepherdless Pie
An onion, diced
A stick of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine,
A handful of shitakes, chopped really fucking small,
A tin of lentis
A tin of flageolets
A big squirt of tomato puree
A load of frozen peas
A decent sized spoon of herbs de provence
A shake of soy sauce
A couple of veg stock cubes
Enough water to cover that lot
Summat like that, anyway
The topping
4-5 spuds
A big sweet spud
A parsnip
An onion
A couple of big handfuls of kale or spinach or cabbage or all 3.
About 3 big handfuls of nutritional yeast flakes
Put yer onion celery garlic and carrot and a big frying pan and steam fry till all getting a bit soft, chuck in the puree and cook that down for a bit, then just chuck the rest of it in and cook down until it looks the right consistency to make a spud topped pie, probably 30-40 minutes, then stick it all in a big baking dish
For the topping, if yer using an onion, steam fry or fry it, on a low heat, for about an hour, about 45 mins in, chuck the greens in, turn the heat up a bit, let it all get a bit crispy. Boil the roots up for about 20 minutes, then mash with some non dairy milk, the onion and greens and the nutritional yeast flakes, dollop all that onto the lentil and bean mixture, chuck it into a hot oven about 200c for 20 minutes or so and yer dinner is done. 
Jamie Oliver is to blame for all the sweet potato use. I can't actually stand the bloody things, but Jamie insists that they are some kind of a miracle food, and only a fool would ignore Jamie. Problem is, they  are crap and their texture is nasty, hence, although I'm using  them a  lot, they are always combined with something else.

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