A fine pie with influence from Jerusalem (via the Caernarfon Library) and our local hero’s; the mighty leek (a symbol of Wales-ness and great taste), our neighbour’s eggs and the humble spud. My friend Mandy also makes a pie not to dissimilar to this one, so its a tasty mix of all these things and more! Surely with all that input, this pie can only be amazing!
We have been getting a few leeks out of the garden, but these are proper Welsh farm leeks (the home of the mighty leek, spiritual at least). Great leeks are a good place to start most dishes, but especially pies. I like to put leeks centre stage, they deserve it and should not be wasted in a stock pot.
Legend would have it that St David (the patron saint of Wales) had the Welsh army wear leeks on their helmets to differentiate themselves from some pesky Saxon invaders. The impact of this fashion accessory stuck and it is still worn on March 1st, St Davids day.
“MR OTTOLENGHI I PRESUME”
Yotam Ottolenghi’s cooking style also makes an appearance here. He is a real food superstar, most things he touches come to life with flavour and texture. I popped down to Caernarfon Library and picked up a few books, one of them being Yotam’s ‘Jerusalem‘, a fascinating place and a fascinating book. Brilliantly written and photographed, the dishes seem intrinsic to the melting pot of Jerusalem, with its many cultures in one little place. I particularly liked the ‘Herb Pie‘ recipe and immediately went about corrupting it to suit my cupboards and fridge. This little pie popped up and we’re glad it did. It is full of YUM, gorgeous richness of cheese, herbs, sweet leeks and onion
I was half asleep at the shop yesterday and bought puff pastry instead of filo, I think filo would have been better, but the puff sufficed! I would like to think one day I will make my own puff pastry and my own filo pastry, I would also like to think one day I’ll play guitar like Neil Young and write poetry like T.S. Elliot. Stranger things have happened!!!!!
Mandy puts Goats Cheese in her ‘Leek and Walnut Pie’, but I prefer the tang of the feta here that stands up nicely to the other flavours and has the perfect crumbly texture for this filling.
Really get your leeks, onions, potatoes etc nice and golden and sweet, this will make a great contrast with the lemon, olive and feta. Expect a multi-cultural party in your mouth here!
You can really go crazy with the cheese here and Yotam put three cheeses into his pie (he seems to put three cheeses into alot of things). Obviously we are working on a different level to Yotam and felt that one was more than enough, with a couple of blobs of good creamy Greek yoghurt to add a creamier feel.
LITTLE TIP – LEEK CLEANING
I find the easiest way is to cut off the very tops of the green leaves and check for any dodgy looking wilted leaves. Then chop the leek, discarding the root end and loosing the hard outer leaves, you’ll be able to feel what I mean when you do it. Then place in standing cold water and give them a good wash. Sieve out and double check that no grit or dirt remains.
Cleaning and chopping a leek this way allows you to get the most out of the green bit, which is packed with flavour and all to often shown the bin.
MORE BEACH HOUSE FLAVOUR HERE:
This is the tastiest pie I’ve ever made, try it!
Makes one large pie, a dish approx. 8″ by 10″ or there abouts. Enough for four.
8 new potatoes (cut into small cubes), 2 large leeks, 1 red onion, 5 mushrooms (most varieties will be fine), 2 sticks celery, 2 handfuls spinach leaves, 10 pitted green olives, 3 large cloves garlic. All finely chopped.
75g fresh dill (1 1/2 teas dried dill), 75g fresh mint (1 1/2 teas dried mint), 2 free range eggs, 150g good Greek feta, 2 tbs thick creamy yoghurt, 1 lemon zest, 1 teas honey, sea salt and plenty of cracked black pepper
1 pack of puff pastry (one roll or however you buy it). 1 tbs oil (for brushing)
Get some colour on your potatoes, in a large frying pan, add 1 tbs of your cooking oil (your choice here!) and fry off your potatoes for 10 minutes, getting some nice golden brown tints. Set aside.
In the same pan, add 2 teas more oil and get your onions softened, 3 minutes cooking, then add your leeks, celery, mushrooms, garlic, cook for a further 3 minutes until all is getting soft.
Then add your olives, spinach and cooked potatoes and then all your filling bits. Stir in and warm through for 10 minutes on a low heat. Cover and cool, now sort the pastry.
Pre-heat fan oven to 180oC
Roll out your pastry sheet to fit your pie dish, we just used a pastry lid, but you may like to add a base. We are not huge fans of loads of pastry in a pie, the more filling the better!
Place your warm filling in the dish and spread evenly, then throw on your pie lid (delicately!) and brush the pie dish edges with oil. Now press down around the edges with gentle force, sealing the pie. I used my thumb, you may like to use a fork. Trim off any excess pastry and make three slices in the centre of the pastry to release cooking steam. Now give the pie a loving brush with some olive oil and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
The pastry should be nicely golden and the pie filling steaming hot.
With a steamed green vegetables or a nice green leaf salad with a light, sweet dressing. The pie has a lovely lemon-ness that will go nicely with a honey/ sweet dressing. Its a heavy pie, flavour and texture, so keep the accompaniments light.
We Love It!
We really do you know. Love It! Especially this pie, which had us both ‘Mmmmming’ in unison at its sheer deliciousness and flavour combinations. Not your average pie and all the better for it.
Leeks are alliums, basically tall thin onions with a green head of leaves, they are used all over the world and don’t just feature in Welsh pies! Leeks contain many vital vitamins and allicin that actually reduces cholesterol, they also contain high levels of vitamin A.