It’s Autumn once again and this is the time of year when I get drawn back to both writing and cooking. I’ve been searching for new vegetarian recipes suitable for the cold weather. Yesterday I made this wonderful and hearty spiced lentils, kale and sweet potato pie, which conjures up the fare of the half-gone 1970s wholefood restaurant, woefully replaced, more often than not, with the trendy healthy eaterie of quite another stripe. Pie is no more photogenic than porridge and so be it. I care not.
I made two pies, replacing the lentils in one with black beans for my son who is allergic to lentils. It’s also vegan, unless you brush the pastry wtih some milk as I did (to glaze it). I found the recipe for the pies as parcels on The Kitchn and the original recipe would work well if you want to transport them. I’ve altered it slightly, using instant yeast rather than active dried.
Spiced Lentil, Sweet Potato & Kale Whole Wheat Pies
Makes two pies, serves 4-6.
For the dough:
1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling)
1 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
For the filling:
3 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
250g cup French green (Puy) lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 cups water
1/2 bunch kale, tough ribs and stems removed
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine the warm water , yeast and salt and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the warm water. Knead for 7 to 10 minutes until dough is smooth. Lightly grease a large bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until very soft to the touch. Set aside to cool and then mash.
Cut the onion in half. Thinly slice one half and set aside. Dice the other half. Warm 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the diced onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and allspice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils, kale, water and salt. Cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more, until kale is half cooked but still a beautiful emerald green. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lentil and kale mixture to a bowl, leaving most of the cooking liquid in the pot.
Meanwhile, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the thinly sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Increase the oven heat to 450°F. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and let rest for 20 minutes, loosely covered with plastic wrap. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch chunks. Mash with a fork until smooth and add a sprinkle of salt, if needed.
Take two ceramic or glass dishes. Spread the mashed sweet potato over bottom, then the lentils and kale mix, then the caramelised onions and, finally, the dough. Glaze.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until browned. Let cool for at least 5 minutes if serving immediately.