A popular topic amongst families of mixed dietary needs is the highly esteemed Sunday lunch. For many families in Britain, this is the most dependable meal of the week, a beacon at the end of the tunnel of Monday to Friday madness. It's a time for the family to sit down together, to enjoy a meal, to warm up on a freezing spring Sunday (since apparently it's winter here in Southeast England).
Ah, but what if nan's just taken on vegetarianism or your daughter's vegan boyfriend is coming around to disrupt your valued family time enjoy a meal? There's always the reliable Fry's chicken burgers (these do go well with roast spuds, I must admit) or Redwoods roasts, but if you're looking for something that's les prep-prepared then there are still options.
I personally love a pastry based component of a roast, the way the top stays lovely and crisp while the bottom soaks in the gravy and goes slightly soggy. Gross? Not at all; a good gravy should flavour everything on that heaped Sunday plate!
These pies are delicate but wholesome and filling, with a creamy centre containing the considerably underestimated (at least in the UK) sweet potato. They're also good cold, so make a good addition to any picnic. Likewise, these pies are an ideal part of any underachiever's breakfast (hello? Open fridge. Shove something in face. The end).
Try making a great big pie or swapping ingredients around. This is more of a suggestion of method rather than content, though I'm of the opinion that this filling is good as it is. Obviously. Plus it doesn't require any special pans to achieve a clever pie shaped pie.
Savoury Sweet Potato Pies
- Preheat the oven to 200° C (400° F).
- Steam the sweet potato for 8-10 minutes, or until well done (you should be able to put a knife through with no resistance).
- Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Slowly fry the onion and celery for 15 minutes, with a lid on, until lightly browned (a little burnt is okay). You may want to stir once or twice in the process. Add the garlic and herbs and cook for a further minutes before mixing in the vinegar.
- Once the vinegar has cooked down and the mixture is nearing dry again (a minute or two), add the flour and stir until evenly distrubuted through the pan. Slowly whisk in the soy milk until the flour is dissolved and the sauce thickens. Add the mustard and cheese, stirring to mix to a thick sauce. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Roll your puff pastry to very thinly, perhaps 2-3mm, and cut several 5-6 inch rounds out. The recipe makes five or 6 pies, so start with ten rounds of pastry.
- To assemble, you can either mash the sweet potato and simply layer a few small pieces in the centre of a piece of pastry. Top with 2 tablespoons or so of the onion sauce. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and place a second round on top, pressing the sides down to seal. Flatten the pie slightly with the palm of your hand and press the edges with a fork.
- Place the pies, once assembled, on a lightly greased baking sheet, brushing with a bit of extra soy milk. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pies are well browned with minimal burn.