A few months ago my brother gifted me a rather lovely recipe book entitled Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables. Written by Joshua McFadden, the book basically celebrates vegetables, pulling out the very best of their seasonal flavours to create hearty, loosely Italian themed and mostly vegetarian dishes.
My first dish from the book is this one, a rich cabbage, mushroom and leek filling with mustard and cheese inside a soft crumbly shortcrust pastry. I adapted the recipe of course, adding some soaked dried mushrooms picked up from our local supermarket to create an additional texture and an intensely mushroomy stock. I also replaced the rather convoluted and time consuming flakey pastry recipe with my super quick and easy method. And of course I changed the name…where I come from this is most definitely a pasty not a hand pie!
For the filling:
4oz dried mushrooms
1 large leek or the equivalent in skinny leeks!
4 cups Savoy cabbage (roughly a quarter of a large cabbage)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard (but I added more)
A splash of hot sauce
2oz Parmesan cheese
Half a lemon
Salt and pepper
For the pastry:
8oz plain flour
4oz salted butter
1 teaspoon salt
Start by making the filling.
As I was using dried mushrooms as well as fresh I soaked these in a little warm water for around 3 hours before I started cooking. If you don’t have dried mushrooms you can replace them with additional fresh ones i.e. 8oz fresh mushrooms in total.
Start by slicing the fresh mushrooms (and roughly chopping the soaked dried ones) and then fry them off in a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper then remove from the pan and set aside.
Next wash and slice the leeks and finely shred the cabbage. Fry off the leeks in a large pan with a knob of butter. When they are soft and lightly browned add the shredded cabbage. Season well before adding the mushrooms and the soaking liquid, and cook until the cabbage has wilted (around 5 minutes). If you didn’t used dried mushrooms just add a little water or vegetable stock.
Finally add the vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, finely grated Parmesan cheese and juice of half a lemon. Mix well and allow the filling to cool completely while you make the pastry.
For the pastry, measure out the flour, add the salt and cubes butter and mix together by hand until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Then add enough cold water to make into a stiff dough.
Roll out the pastry and cut into circles using a small plate or bowl. Place the pastry circles on a greased baking tray, fill with the mixture and fold over, sealing the edges together with a little cold water.
Cut three decorative slits into each pasty and pop into a hot oven (200 degrees) for around 30 to 40 mins. Brushing the pasties with a little beaten egg or milk before they go into the oven will create a lovely golden colour as they bake.
These pasties are best eaten hot. I served mine with some sweet potato wedges, roasted broccoli with sesame seeds and a large glass of Italian red! This recipe made eight pasties but I had some left over filling which I popped into the freezer for another time. The mixture will be good for at least three months – if you can wait that long!