I’m a bit obsessed by the combination of urad chilka (black split lentils) and mushrooms at the moment, I think it’s the dark earthy colours as much as the flavours! I wanted to combine them with beetroot for a little sweetness and horseradish for heat, but fancied something a bit different than stew, or soup.
So I’ve used a combination of potato, butternut squash and sweet potato mashed with polenta to make a lovely flavoursome alternative to a pastry crust. And, of course, it’s rather healthier too, not being made with fat.
I should possibly have made a little more effort with the ‘lattice’ top, it looks like I have lovingly arranged wotsits on top… but it’s really very tasty!
serves 4 to 6
for the polenta mash crust
400 g potato, cut into 1 cm cubes
200 g butternut squash, cut into 1 cm cubes
150 g sweet potato, cut into 2 cm cubes
(The proportions of vegetables are approximate, change them if you like! Also, there’s no need to be too precise with the size of the cubes, but as the sweet potato cooks more quickly make sure the pieces are roughly twice the size of the other vegetables)
around 1 litre of hot water
150 g quick cook polenta
4 tbsp tapioca flour
salt and pepper
about 2 tsp oil
for the mushroom, beetroot and lentil filling
250 g mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp olive oil
150 g urad chilka or lentils of your choice
1/4 tsp dried thyme
around 600 ml of the mash veg cooking water
2 cooked beetroot, cubed
4 cm fresh horseradish, grated (or 1-2 tbsp mustard)
1 tbsp cornflour, slaked
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Lightly oil a 15 x 25 cm baking dish.
Put the potato, squash and sweet potato in a saucepan, add the water and some salt and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for around 15 minutes until soft.
While the vegetables are simmering heat the olive oil in another pan, and saute the mushrooms for a few minutes until softened.
Add the lentils and dried thyme, and then when the mash veg are done, around 600 ml of their cooking water.
Bring to a simmer and cook for around 25 minutes until the lentils are soft and almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.
Mix the drained potato, squash and sweet potato with the polenta, tapioca and salt and pepper and then mash. Tip 3/4 of the mixture into the baking dish, and using your fingers, squash it out to cover the base and go up the sides.
Spray or drizzle with a little oil and bake for 25 minutes until starting to brown at the edges.
When the lentils are cooked add the beetroot, horseradish and cornflour and stir well. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the lentil mixture into the baked crust. Use the reserved polenta mash to make a top for the pie, there should be enough to cover the whole top rolled thinly if you don’t want to do a lattice.
Spray or drizzle with a bit more oil, and bake for 25 minutes.