Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The best fennel potato pie (with zucchini and carmelized onions)

Today, I tried fennel for the first time! I have seen them prepare it in a hundred delicious ways on Masterchef, I don't know why I haven't bothered cooking it before. So for dinner, I made up my own version of a fennel pie, and tried to incorporate in all the veggies I had at home. It was an experiment, but it turned out brilliant!

You need: for pastry
  • 2 ½ cups plain organic flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 170g cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup ice water
for filling: 2-3 bulbs of fennel, 2 potatoes, 2 onions, 1/4 zucchini, garlic (4 cloves) sherry wine (1tbsp), balsamic vinegar (1tbsp), cheese (any kind), rosemary and thyme- a few sprigs, butter, 1/2 cup milk, a spoon of fresh cream.

There are 4 basic processes, that you need to juggle around a bit.
1. Pastry
and for the filling....
2. blanched fennel and zucchini
2. Caramelized onions
3. potato mash

We need to get started on the pastry first. It is a very simple process, it's the same method I used for the apple pie I posted earlier (http://pinkpaperlanterns.blogspot.in/2012/12/dreamy-apple-pie.html)
With the pastry in the fridge and out of the way, lets get on to the veggies.

In a vessel blanch coarsely chopped fennel and zucchini in boiling water for about 5 minutes, and set aside.

In a shallow pan, saute chopped onions and garlic in olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add the sherry white wine after that, and balsamic vinegar. Add some salt and pepper and herbs and saute in low heat for another 5 minutes. Don't let the onions burn at any point. Set aside.

Meanwhile chop the potatoes fine and boil them. Once they are soft, mash them coarsely and toss in a cube of butter and a spoon of fresh cream. Add the mash to the onions, along with milk, and combine till the mixture gets all smooth and gooey.

Assembling the pie:
Drape the pastry into the pie dish.  Pour the filling (the onion potato mash and fennel- zucchini) into the pastry lined pie dish. Gently pat down to even off surface and dot with diced butter, crumbled feta and shredded gruyere. Cover the filling with rolled out dough and pinch the edges to seal the pie.
Make a few slits on the surface and brush it with a bit of olive oil before tossing it into the oven for about 30 mins at 200 deg c.

You can improvise by using any other vegetable- carrots, peas, broccoli. And it's quite filling, couldn't have more than two slices!