Last week a group of us went for a meal in a restaurant in London called Maggie Jones. The restaurant I was told is named after Princess Margaret and her husband Antony Armstrong Jones who were frequent diners there. My vegetarian choice for lunch was a vegetable hot pot pie. The restaurant had made it in individual pie dishes. When I ordered the dish I asked if it could be spiced up a bit by adding some green chillies to it and I was told that they didn't have any chillies but I could have Tabasco sauce.
I really enjoyed the pie and decided to make one for my dinner but making it slightly spicier. The restaurant's pie was a bit runny but I decided to add a some white sauce to mine to make the filling a bit thicker.
They served the pie with mashed potatoes, baby potatoes and carrots.
So here's my version of the vegetarian hot pot pie which makes 2 small pies or one large pie serving 6:
For the crust you will need:
2 cups of whole wheat chappati flour
2 cups of plain flour
8 tbs butter (melt it to get the right measurements)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp basil1-2 tbs sesame seeds
For the filling:
I onion chopped into small cubes
4-5 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tsp minced ginger
4 small sweet potatoes cut into small cubes
1 medium potato cut into small cubes
2 cups of mixed vegetables ( I used frozen mixed vegetables which had sweet corn, green vegetables, carrots and peas)
1 red pepper chopped into small pieces (you can use any colour)
1 small carrot cut into cubes
1 pkt paneer cut into cubes (I used 225 gms of ready made paneer)
small bunch of chopped coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp dhana jeeru ( a mixture of coriander and cumin powders)
2-3 green chillies chopped
2 -3 tbs oil
To make a white sauce to add to the filling:
2 cups of milk
3 tbs of plain flour
2 tbs melted butter
1. First make the pastry. Add the flour, salt, pepper, basil, butter, sesame seeds into a mixing bowl. Mix this using a fork. To bind the dough - use cold water. I needed just over a cup of cold water to bind the dough.
2. Once the dough is ready, divide it into 2 or 4 balls depending on the number of pies you are going to make. I made two small pies as some members of my family do not like garlic and onions. Transfer the balls of dough in plastic bags and keep them in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.
3. First, prepare the paneer. Cut it into cubes and stir fry it with a couple of teaspoons of oil and a couple of cloves of garlic to give it some flavour. Cook this until - just a little brown. Try and leave it almost white but firm enough not to break when added to the rest of the vegetables. Keep the panner aside.
4. To the same pan, add a couple of tablespoons of oil and stir fry the onions and add the rest of the vegetables, spices and herbs.
5. In a food blender, mix the milk, butter, the plain flour and one cup of water. Add this to the filling and let it simmer on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is cooked and the sauce thickens. It takes about 15-20 minutes.
6. Add the paneer and mix well but gently as you don't want to break the paneer pieces.
8. Line the bottom of the pie dish and pour in the filling and smooth it up to the top. Cover this with a pastry and press together the top and bottom crusts to form a seal. You can crimp the edges with a fork if it helps. Make a couple of sharp cuts in the centre of the top pastry. (If you have any pastry left over, you can use a biscuit cutter to make some shapes to decorate the pastry)
9. The round one was a bit harder for me to seal so using a fork helped.
10. Brush the top of the pie with some oil and cook the vegetable hot pot pie for 45 minutes at 170 degrees C or 325 degrees F. Check the pie after 30 minutes and if it looks brown, lower the temperature slightly and cook for 15 minutes. Don't worry if some of the filling oozes out of the pie. As it cools, the filling does thicken.
11. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes before serving. We served ours with a jacket potato.
12. Any left over pie can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. When re heating, just brush the crust with some oil or butter, sprinkle some water and cook it at 170 degrees C. for 15 minutes covered with aluminium foil and a further 10 with the foil removed. This will prevent the pie from drying out.
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