Friday, May 25, 2012

Green(s) Pie

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This pie didn't turn out the way I wanted it to. Because it wasn't even supposed to be a pie! I was planning on making turnovers, but the pastry was not cooperating on a hot, humid day. So instead of struggling with stuffing and folding a dozen turnovers, I made one pie and patted myself on the back.

I stuffed this pie with a lot of nutritious greens and added aromatics like sage, thyme, onion and garlic. I also mixed in some cannellini bean puree that held the veggies together and gave the filling a creamy texture. The crust was golden, tender and flaky. Although I didn't successfully make turnovers, this was nevertheless a success.

You'll need:
  • 2 bunches dark greens (I used kale and rainbow chard, but you can also use spinach, mustard greens, and collard greens), tough stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 gloves garlic, minced
  • 3 sprigs sage, chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional egg wash (1 beaten egg with 1 tablespoon water)
  • 1 portion pastry, recipe below
For the pastry, you'll need:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cubed and chilled
  • 3/4 cup vegan butter substitute (Earth Balance for me), cubed and chilled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • up to 5 tablespoons ice cold water
To begin, mix all purpose flour, chilled vegan butter spread, vegetable shortening salt until the mixture has a wet sand consistency. You can use food processor and pulse a few times or you can use your hands and break up the fat into finer granules. Mix in water, one tablespoon at a time. If you're using a food processor, add ice water one tablespoon at a time while pulsing. The dough should barely come together. You probably only need 2-3 tablespoons of water. When in doubt, retrain from adding more water. It's easy to add more water, but impossible to take it out. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill.

In a large pot fitted with a lid, begin heating up olive oil over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes to the oil. When pepper flakes start to sizzle, mix in diced onion and cook until translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Mix in garlic, sage and thyme. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add greens. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well together and cover for a 5-8 minutes over medium low heat. The greens should be just wilted and still bright green. Remove and set aside. Once cooled, add mixture into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Wrapping the mixture in cheese cloth, squeeze out any excess liquid and place the mixture in mixing bowl. Add cannellini beans to the food processor and pulse until beans are mashed. Mix together the bean puree with vegetable mixture and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chilled dough onto a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and wrap up one half in plastic wrap and place it back in the refrigerator. Roll out the other half into a round disc 2 inches larger than the pie pan. Mold the dough into the pie pan and trim off any excess dough. (If you're working on a hot and humid day or the dough is too wet, try rolling the dough out in between two pieces of plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will help you to roll out the dough evenly without sticking and make the transfer to pie pan a lot easier.) Dock the dough with fork and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Fill the baked pie crust with vegetable mixture. Spread it out evenly with a spatula. Roll out the other piece of dough into a round disc big enough to cover the pie pan. Cut out some vent holes in the middle of the disc. Cover the pie with the dough. Crimp the edges by pushing down gently.  Brush with egg wash (omit if you want to keep this vegan). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until browned. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


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