This first post has been inspired by my dear friend Meegs, who is babysitting my child in return for hints on how to bastardise a fantastic recipe.
By that, I mean I have taken Jared Ingersoll‘s recipe for Slow-cooked Broccoli and Bitter Greens Pie in his book ‘Sharing Plates’, and turned it into something I can throw together relatively quickly before a party, or on the weekend for the week’s lunches.
Now, this is is by no means an accurate capture of how I put this pie together, as I’m working off Mr Ingersoll’s recipe and trying to remember off the top of my head how I’ve changed it. Also, the pictures suck. Sorry about that.
Firstly, the original recipe uses Olive Oil Pastry, as per below:
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
135 mL water
Jared’s instructions from the book: “Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre, then add the olive oil and water and form into a firm dough, (I’m assuming with your hands, and not simply with the power of your mind. Tried the latter once, didn’t turn out to well) adding a little more water if it is too dry. Wrap your dough up really well in a piece of plastic wrap and let this rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge, then keep at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling the pastry. Resting the dough makes it a lot easier to work with – if you try rolling the dough straight away, you will find it rubbery and hard to work with.”
Well, aren’t we all?
Anyway, using the Olive Oil pastry, you end up with something like this:
If you’re short of time (or lazy, like myself), I’ve found pre-made puff pastry works just as well – like what you see below:
1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, finely diced
1 bird’s eye chilli, finely chopped, deseeded if you’re a wuss
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 cup dry white wine (I insist the cook try it first, just to make sure it’s suitable)
2 potatoes, boiled whole, finely diced
About a tablespoon of fresh thyme
Around 100g feta (I recommend Barambah organic marinated feta. If not, something equally crumbly)
4-6 eggs, beaten (This changes depending on the amount of greens I have after cooking)
Half a bunch of parsley
And around 3 big bunches of winter greens – recommendations include kale, silverbeet, English spinach, beetroot tops, rocket, carrot tops (well, I’ll find out if they’re any good when I make my next lot), or rapini. Basically, anything green that grows in the cooler months.
- Chop the greens into smallish pieces. I find if you just slice it up, no matter how finely, you end up with large strings of green coming out as you bite into the pie. Not all that appealling when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone at a party.
- Wilt in a fry pan, in batches, with a bit of olive oil and water. Transfer into a colander. Let them cool while you’re cooking the broccoli.
The biggest difference between my pie and Mr Ingersoll’s is that he uses slow-cooked broccoli. Seeing as I couldn’t be arsed doing this (nor do I have a sous chef to cook it for me every morning), I poach it instead.
- In a pan, throw the chilli, garlic, onions and thyme in with some olive oil. Cook until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add the broccoli and gently fry until it becomes bright green.
- Pour in the wine. There should be enough to easily poach the broccoli, but not drown it. Simmer until soft. Season well with salt and pepper.
- While waiting for the broccoli to cool, squeeze all of the liquid you can out of your greens, using your hands (or the power of your mind, if you figured out how to make pastry this way earlier). This is the part that is the most annoying and time consuming. Also wish I had a sous chef or apprentice for this bit.
- Mix the cooled broccoli, greens, potato, parsley, crumbled feta and eggs into a bowl. I recommend lightly seasoning again at this stage, but tread carefully. Unless you’re fond of tasting cold raw egg, it’s hard to tell if you’ve over-seasoned or not.
Assembling the pie
As you can see from the pictures, this can be done in one of two ways. Jared’s original recipe calls for the pastry to be rolled out to fit a 28 cm pie tin. I think the large one you see pictured above is actually a 23 cm pie tin. What you can also see is that I’ve used a cupcake tin and made party-sized ones with the puff pastry. Whatever suits your needs is fine, I guess.
Once the tin is greased and the pastry is rolled out and placed in the tin, pour in the ingredients.
Now here’s the hard part. I can’t remember what temperature I bake it at. This is mainly due to having cooked this same pie in 4 different ovens over the past year, so I adjust according to how well it seems to be going. Start at 190C, then check back to make sure the pie is setting and the pastry isn’t burning before the rest is done. Usually takes about 45 mins.
If this post is incredibly hard to follow or I’ve missed a bit out, let me know, and I’ll blame Meegs.