Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Leek and fennel pie with gazpacho

Last night I had a lot of stuff to get rid of (story of my life), so I made this pie to dispense with the last of the green leeks as well as the fennel bulb that I didn't use in the pigeon pea soup.  I made the gazpacho first so that it would have time to chill, and then I got started on the pie.  This recipe was the basis for the gazpacho that I made, but I did change it up a little.  Steve said he didn't care for a gazpacho that wasn't completely smooth.  I nearly left some chopped veggies out of the blender for myself but then decided that putting all of it in the blender would at least keep me from taking a bite and thinking, "Holy onion, Batman!"  So in the blender it all went and then chilled for two hours.

3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 small cucumbers, seeded and diced
2 red-and-green bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 red onion, chopped
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
2 cups tomato juice
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh ground pepper

While that was in the fridge I made the pie.  I don't usually do savory pies, so I really didn't know what I was getting into, but I figured that my limited experience with casseroles and fruit pies would get me through.  Plus I knew what I wanted the result to be, so I did my best to pull it off:

Leek and fennel pie:
1 store-bought deep-dish pie crust
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 tbsp Smart Balance
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp Smart Balance
1 fennel bulb (about 1.5 cups), diced
1-2 leeks (dark green parts only), halved lengthwise and chopped 1/4 inch

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt 3 tbsp of Smart Balance in a small, non-stick saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add flour and stir well to avoid clumping.  Gradually stir in milk, stirring well to avoid clumping of the sauce.  Stir often once the sauce begins to bubble.  A few minutes after the milk has all been added, add 1/4 cup parmesan.  Continue to stir often (skim the bottom well to avoid burning) until the sauce is thick enough to start coming away from the non-stick surface when stirred (could be 20-30 minutes). 

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp Smart Balance in a separate pan over medium heat.  Add fennel, salt and pepper and saute until fennel has softened, about 10 minutes.  Add diced leeks and continue to cook until all vegetables are tender, another 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the sauce is ready for the fennel and leeks to be mixed in, remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and sprinkle 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese over the bottom.  Add the filling to the pie crust, sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes.  If the crust is browning too fast, brush with water after about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 45 minutes.

I actually didn't do the last part; I only let it cool for 15, which made the cutting somewhat messy.  I had a feeling that might happen, which is why I snapped the picture before cutting.  It seemed to thicken up on our plates, though, and still tasted pretty good.  Steve pointed out that eggs (listed in some of the leek tart recipes I looked at) might have shortened the cooking time, but, well, some of us can't do eggs.  So I guess the lesson learned here is patience - and maybe also that some recipes should be started 3+ hours ahead of time?

In any case, the gazpacho provided a nice, cool, zippy counterbalance to the pie.  There's still plenty of both leftover, so I may take the night off before cooking again...

1 comment:

  1. I've been loving cold soup like gazpacho in this summer heat! Next on my list - watermelon gazpacho with cayenne and lime.