Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 93.5 - Savory Kale, Potato & Parsnip Pie (Vegetarian)

Kale, Potato and Parsnip Pie
Several days ago, an intriguing  post from NPR popped up in my Facebook feed.  Written by Bonnie Wolf the Editor of NPR's Kitchen Window, the piece boldly stated that the trendy and much revered cupcake would be summarily replaced by pie in 2011. Well, it's about time. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a good cupcake as much as the next person, but they're just Pie, on the other hand, is straight-up pioneer food. To make a good crust, one has to have both a strong hand and a light touch. I like that.  Moreover, Wolf writes, the new "glam" vegetable of 2011 is kale. I adore Kale. Its beautiful, frilly, dark green leaves verily beckon me to make something healthy. Plus, who doesn't like to be seen in the check-out isle with big leafy bunches of greens draped over the sides of their basket - even if there is a rogue bag of Cheetos hidden beneath. How many vegetables can you name that make you feel and look good?

I do some of my best thinking late at night and, as I so often do when I have an idea, I woke my husband out of a deep and peaceful sleep to share it. What did he think about kale pie, I wanted to know. The man is a saint, and with one bleary eye open, he sweetly responded, "sounds good, honey, why don't you make it..." Why not indeed.

So I went to one of my 2 go-to vegetable cookbooks, The Victory Garden Cookbook, by Marian Morash (the other is The Moosewood, of course). For years, the Morash's had a gardening/cooking show on PBS and from that show, sprang this cookbook. To my delight, when I flipped through my 23 year old dog-eared book, there on page 145 was a recipe for Kale Pie. The original recipe calls for sausage and ricotta, but since NPR declared that root vegetables are kicking meat to the curb in 2011,  I decided to forgo the sausage and heavy ricotta and substitute potatoes and parsnips to add sweetness and depth to the pie.

 Here's a video I made that shows you all the steps you need to make this lovely pie:

Kale, Potato & Parsnip Pie (Adapted from The Victory Garden Cookbook)
(Serves 6-8)

double recipe Tart Pastry
1 lb. kale
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tsp. chopped garlic
4 eggs
1/2 cup diced potatoes
1/2 cup diced parsnips
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Regiano Parmesan
1 tsp. sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup light cream
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water

Take one-half of the pastry and partially bake a 10-inch pie shell. Blanche kale, gently squeeze, and roughly chop. Saute in 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat to evaporate moisture; set aside. In the same pan, saute the onions in the remaining butter until wilted; add garlic, potatoes and parsnips and stir until potatoes and parsnips are just tender but still crunchy. Combine with kale and cool.

Combine eggs, cheeses, salt, pepper and cream. Fold in the kale and potato/parsnip mixture. Pour into partially baked pie shell and over with a top crust made from the remaining dough. Crimp edges, cut decorative steam vents, and brush pastry with egg glaze. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 1 hour.

Tart Pastry

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. chilled butter (no, this is not a typo)
2 Tbsp. chilled vegetable shortening
1/4-1/3 cup ice water

Processor Method
Put flour and salt into bowl of a food processor. Cut butter into small pieces and add to processor along with shortening. turn processor on and process for 2-3 seconds to break butter into pea-size pieces. Add ice water little by little until dough forms a mass on the blades (about 15 seconds). Put on a floured working surface and knead with heal of hand a few times to work dough and smooth it. Shape into a 5-inch circle, cover with wax paper and chill for 2 hours.

To bake partially
Roll dough 3/16-thick and 2 inches larger than the buttered tart, pie or tartlet pans that you are using. Fit into pan, pressing excess dough slightly down the inside to make the sides thicker. Fashion a decorative edge. Prick pastry with a fork. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Butter aluminum foil slightly larger than the pan; place it buttered side down in the shell. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake at 425F for 8 minutes. Remove shell from oven, take out beans and foil, straighten up pastry edges if the have sagged, prick the bottom of the dough again. Return to oven for 2-4 minutes to just faintly brown and set the dough. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Final Assessment: Even the meataterians in my house scoffed this pie down. The potatoes and parsnips were a perfect substitute for heavy meat and ricotta. I might try adding toasted pine nuts next time. Make the dough the night before to save some time - the rest comes together very quickly. Really, really, really good!


Young Werther said...

This is a lovely pie, just what I need after the meat overdose during the festive season!

Sadie, Happy New Year!
2011 Chinese year of the rabbit, wonder if that will appear on your menu :)

klimt said...

I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.
I have added your site to my site.
Please link my site to your site.
Thank you!

sadie said...

Thank you...I love rabbit...used to own one, perhaps it will appear on the menu! Thank you Klimt - I have added you blog to my site - I LOVE your garden!!