MID-WINTER PIE + Welcoming A New Year/Season of Growth

June 27th, 2022

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I hope you had a restful long weekend observing and celebrating Matariki. As a community, we have celebrated Matakiki for some years so I am delighted it is now an official public holiday – the first of its kind in the world. This is a time to pause and reflect on the year that has been and to remember those who are no longer with us – for me, this is my beloved Nana Ngaire who passed away almost a year ago now. It is also a time to acknowledge the new year and the growing season ahead.

We gathered with friends to share kai with a simple menu of food that had been homegrown, gathered, stored and preserved from our local surrounds. The menu included – roast kūmara and potatoes, slow-cooked wild pork (gifted from a neighbour), Marlborough-grown refried beans, and salad greens from the garden. This is food that doesn’t require a written recipe (I have added recipe links below for some base recipes) as I find I cook more intuitively when presented with a simple selection of fresh ingredients.

The recipe I share today is a mid-winter pie to add to your menu planning for the coming weeks. In the southern hemisphere, we have reached our shortest days of sun hours with the winter solstice last week. We now begin to return to the light when the hibernation of winter will begin to lift and the new season of growth begins. I notice my energy is reflected in this time of year, a slowing down on these cold dark nights, while the flickers of anticipation for the new year/season to come. This is also timely for me as I prepare to share (birth) my new cookbook with the world in spring.

More mid-winter recipes:

Mid-Winter Pie with Root Vegetable Crust

This winter pie is a combination of sorts between a Shepherd’s Pie and the South African dish Bobotie - a spiced meat dish topped with an egg custard. I have also added lentils to bulk it out (or use twice the amount of lentils to make a vegetarian pie). Topped with a tasty root vegetable mash.
Servings 6
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup dried brown lentils - or use 400g can of lentils, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 500 g lamb or beef mince
  • 2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1 rounded tbsp flour - can use gluten-free
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp fruit chutney - I used homemade feijoa chutney
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ¾ cup beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt and cracked pepper
  • 800 g combination of root vegetables - kūmara, parsnip, carrot, swede and/or potato
  • 30 g butter
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • If using dried lentils, cover with hot water and soak for 6-8 hours (improves digestibility). Drain and rinse, and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain well.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C (fan 160C).
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onion and carrot. Sauté over a moderate heat for 5 minutes to soften. Add the mince and curry powder and cook until the mince is browned. Sprinkle over the flour and mix well over the heat. Add the worcestershire sauce, chutney, tomato paste, stock, peas and drained lentils. Cook for 6-8 minutes until well combined and thickened. Season to taste with salt and a good grind of cracked pepper.
  • Peel the root vegetables and chop into 3-4cm pieces. Place in a saucepan, cover with water and add a pinch of salt. Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Drain and briefly return to the heat to evaporate any excess moisture. Add the butter and milk and mash together. Add the egg and continue to mash until smooth - use a stick blender to make it extra smooth if you wish.
  • Spoon the mince mixture into the base of a 25 x 30cm baking dish and even off the surface. Dollop spoonfuls of the mash over the mince and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes. This dish can be prepared ahead of time allowing an extra 5-10 minutes if baking from cold. Serve with pan-seared winter greens.

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