So now it’s time for our Christmas main recipe!
Okay, so essentially it’s pie and chips (hey, we’re northern after all…), but ramped up with new and interesting flavours and wow it’s a great meal, even if we do say so ourselves!
The traditional Christmas dinner vegetable accompaniments with a vegan gravy are always delicious, but this year we really wanted to go for something different, and totally celebratory!
The pie itself has a delicious herby creamy filling full of vegetables and chestnuts, with a pastry made with toasted oats and fresh horseradish. The little kick that the horseradish brings is so good, and works beautifully with the filling.
The sauce was a revelation, it sort of evolved as we went along… The cranberries were a last minute purchase, but they really bring something to the sauce. It’s definitely one we’ll make again, it’d be great with pasta but it’s also lovely as a ketchup type of thing for dipping.
And the Christmas fries! We wanted potato and parsnip to feature in the recipe, but thought what fun it would be to do something different than the usual roasted version. So Alex hit on the idea of making them into shoestring fries, and they’re seriously delicious! We’ve added sweet potato too, and also fine green beans which fry up beautifully, the skins blister and the flavour is intensified.
Then because you have to have brussel sprouts with Christmas dinner we’ve simply steamed them and served them on the sauce, a really tasty combination.
for the pastry
200 g gluten free flour
80 g gram flour (chickpea and split pea flour)
100 g gluten free oats
200 g vegetable fat (we use trex)
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp fresh horseradish, thinly grated (carefully, it’s very pungent!)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cold water
for the filling
150 g tinned artichokes, drained and quartered (about 1/2 a 400 g tin)
1/2 head of fennel, chopped
1/2 tbsp oil
45 g cooked chestnuts, quartered
300 ml soy milk
1 1/2 tbsp cornflour, slaked in a little cold water
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
salt and pepper
for the tomato cranberry carrot sauce
1 400 g tin of plum tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp tamari
1/4 tsp gluten free yeast extract
a sprig of rosemary
40 g fresh cranberries
a little water to thin the sauce if you like, maybe 100 ml
for the Christmas fries
1 large potato, cut into matchsticks and dried in kitchen paper
1 medium sweet potato, cut into matchsticks
1 medium parsnip, cut into matchsticks
150 g fine green beans
oil for deep frying
200 g brussel sprouts, or as many as you like
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c.
In a large roasting tin toss the fennel and carrots with the oil, but keep them separate as they are for different parts of the meal. Pop in the oven for 20 minutes, and then remove the fennel, it should be cooked through and browned in places. Stir the carrots and return to the oven for a further 40 minutes, they should be browned, very soft and reduced in size by around 1/2. The flavour will be very intensely carroty which is what you’re looking for.
While the vegetables are cooking get on with the pastry and filling for the pies. In a dry pan toast the oats for a few minutes, stirring often, until they smell toasty. Cool a little. The pastry is best made in a food processor, this keeps the pungent fresh horseradish under control! Whizz the toasted oats until they have broken down. Add the gluten free flour, gram flour, xanthan gum, horseradish and salt to the processor and pulse to combine. Next add the vegetable fat and pulse again until it all looks, well, lumpy! Add the water a little at a time until the pastry forms a ball.
To make the filling, heat the soy milk until it’s just simmering and whisk in the cornflour to thicken. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and cook on a low heat for 2 minutes, stirring often. Mix through the artichokes, fennel and chestnuts and cool a little.
Transfer the pastry to a clean surface and roll out carefully (it’s quite a soft dough), using a little flour if needed. Line the pie dishes, ours are 12 cm in diameter and 3 cm deep. We used enamel pie dishes, and to be honest it was pretty difficult to get the pies out, when we make them again we’ll use disposable foil dishes.
Roll and cut lids to fit your pie dishes. Fill the dishes with filling and top with the lids, pressing around the edge to seal. Cut a little hole in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake ( at 190 degrees c) for 40 minutes.
Next the sauce! Put the roasted carrots, tinned tomatoes, cranberries, tamari, yeast extract and rosemary in a saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes until the cranberries are soft and the sauce is thick. Remove the rosemary and blend the sauce using an immersion blender. If you want to be cheffy, pass the sauce through a fine sieve to give a velvety texture. Thin with water to your desired consistency, we kept ours quite thick. Reheat in the saucepan when you need it.
To make the fries, heat the oil to 160 degrees c and drop the vegetables in. We used an electric deep fryer, but it’s a very small one so it took a few batches! Keep them warm in the oven as they’re done if you’re doing the same. The potato, sweet potato, parsnips and green beans all take 4 minutes to cook through. We tried the green beans fried from raw, and steamed in the microwave for a couple of minutes and then dried on kitchen paper. We preferred the steamed version, but both are good. Salt the fries.
Steam or boil the brussel sprouts just before serving. We steamed ours for 3 minutes in the microwave.
To serve, carefully turn the pies out and plate the sauce, fries and sprouts as you see fit.
By A. and E.