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Veggie Pie - A Family Favourite for Winter

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March 11, 2017 / New Zealand/Kiwi / By
Anna

Broccoli, cauliflower and....? My new red gumboots? The other one is also a cauliflower; a red cauliflower. I grew them all myself. They can all go into this recipe. Not the gumboots.

There are lots of hearty winter dishes that are reliant on meat, but we all know these days that we should curb our meat consumption. I am not a vegetarian, but I can happily go with out meat or eat very little of it. The trick to achieving this if you are feeding meat eaters is to provide them with vegetable meals that are filling. One such dish is the vegetable lasagna found here. But the subject of this article which I have made for my family for years is another. We call it Veggie Pie but there is no pie crust. Still it is filling and well received in the winter. The following recipe is enough for a family of four. I have mentioned the vegetables I usually have to hand, but you can use anything you have and like; it will still taste great.

Veggie Pie

  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 stalks celery (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
  • 5 medium potatoes (peeled)
  • 5 carrots (peeled and julienned in large pieces)
  • 1-2 leeks (sliced or chopped)
  • 1/2 a cabbage (sliced thinly)

White Sauce

  • 50 grams butter
  • 40-50 grams plain flour
  • 3-4 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup grated cheddar/edam/or emmenthal cheese

The vegetables

First prepare the vegetables (as suggested above, or your own mix). Cut the potatoes into generous sized chunks. The secret to getting this to look good is to have all the vegetables cook to the right consistency in the minimum amount of water. But don't worry: it's easy.

Put a little cooking oil in the bottom of a large saucepan and warm. Add the onion, leeks and celery and sweat gently. Add a generous cup of water and the stock cub. Then add the potatoes. Cover and cook on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Gentle cooking will prevent the potatoes from breaking up or going mushy. Add the carrots and cook a further 5 minutes; then add the sliced cabbage.

As you add each vegetable just layer it on top. You will need to tilt the saucepan each time you add an ingredient to ensure there is enough water to basically steam the vegetables and prevent sticking. If more water is needed add a little at a time - about half a cup.

If you are using different vegetables consider how long they take to cook and add them to the layers based on this assessment. It is really rather simple. If you end up overcooking some of the vegetables, it will not be noticeable.

Once you have added the last ingredient and cooked for 5 minutes, turn the heat off and let the saucepan sit covered while you make the sauce.

The White Sauce

This sauce is a simplified béchamel.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return to the heat (a low heat) and cook for a minute stirring constantly. Add the milk stirring constantly. I use a whisk for a guaranteed smooth sauce. Cook for a further 5 minutes on the lowest heat stirring and tasting to adjust the seasoning.

Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese reserving a couple of spoonfuls to sprinkle on top. Do not return to the heat once the cheese has been added or it will become chewy.

Now return to the vegetable saucepan and drain any remaining liquid. There should be little and the beauty of this is that the goodness from the vegetables is not being drained away.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle remaining grated cheese on top. Grill until crisp on top and serve.

Tips: If you do not like cheese, you could leave it out and add parsley to the sauce. Also, if you find you have added too much water to the vegetables while cooking them, it can be drained off into the roux (the butter and flour mix) as long as you reduce the milk accordingly.

 

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