Deep pie with black beans, greens and pistachios

Beans & greens pie

Beans, greens, and … guava paste!?!?! That’s right! Guava paste! It lends a subtle sweetness and a mysterious flavor to this otherwise extremely earthy dish. I’m going to try to mix it up a bit with the bodega express ingredients. I might try one dish that’s a fairly traditional and accurate application of the star ingredient, and one that isn’t so authentic, but strikes me as a nice combination. That’s the plan at the moment, anyway. As it happens, it’s not unusual to find guava paste paired with cheese in an empanada, and this is sort of a giant, elaborately decked out version of that, I suppose. I would have made them as empanadas, and, in fact, I think the filling might work better that way – smaller and with a flakier crust – but I wanted to try out a new and improved version of my hot water crust pastry, so this tall handsome pie is the result. It contains black beans, kale, spinach, smoked gouda, pistachios for crunch, bread crumbs, sage, thyme, basil, allspice and nutmeg, and, of course, smoked paprika. The guava, which is bright and has a hint of tartness behind all of its obvious sweetness, added a nice balance for all the smokey savoriness. Actually, I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of pouring jelly into the hole in the top of a pork pie (although meaty jelly isn’t the most appetizing idea, to me!) And I briefly considered melting the guava jelly down and trying this very practice! I chickened out, though. I think it would have been too sweet.

Anyway, this was very easy to make, and very nice with some mashed potatoes and a crispy salad, and I think it might be even nicer with a flaky paté brisée in smaller empandas. Someday I’ll try that and let you know!

Here’s Johnny Nash’s smooth cover of Bob Marley’s Guava Jelly. Still stuck in my head!!

One batch of of hot water crust pastry

1 can black beans, rinsed and well-drained
1 T olive oil
1 slice whole wheat bread, ground roughly
1 shallot – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – finely minced
1 t. tomato paste
1 t. sage
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t basil
1 t. smoked paprika
pinch each nutmeg and allspice
4 or 5 large kale leaves, stems removed
1 big handful of spinach (about 1 cup)
1 cup smoked gouda
1 cup sharp cheddar
1/2 cup pistachio kernals, chopped
2 T guava paste
salt & plenty of pepper.
1 egg, beaten

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot, then the garlic, then the tomato paste, the guava paste and the herbs. Cook for a few minutes, trying to break the guava paste down a bit, although small lumps are fine. Then add the black beans. Stir till they’re cooked through and quite dry. You might need to add a little bit of water (I added the greens cooking water).

Meanwhile, in a large pot, boil some salted water and throw in the kale and then the spinach. Cook for about 5-7 minutes till they’re wilted but still bright green. Rinse in cool water, drain, and squeeze in your fists to get all the extra water out. Chop them fairly finely.

In a large bowl combine the beans, greens, bread crumbs, cheese, nutmeg, paprika, allspice, salt, pepper, and pistachios. Stir in all but about 1 T of egg.

Roll out 3/4 of the hot water crust pastry and press it into a baking dish of any shape you like, leaving a big margin on top. I made mine very tall, to test the dough, but something less lofty would work just as well. Press the filling into the dough. Roll out the top piece, lay it on top, and roll up the edges. Seal with the tines of a fork. Slice an x in the center to let out steam. Brush everything with egg.

Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven till it’s golden brown and hard to the touch when you tap it. About 1/2 an hour. Leg it sit for about 15 minutes before you try to take it out of the dish and cut it.

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