Standing Christmas pie

…Or how I had a day when the cooking gods frowned upon me…

Standing Christmas pie

Yesterday if felt like everything I cooked turned out wrong. I guess I was trying to do too much at once getting ready for christmas, but nothing was working out for me, and it seemed like every decision I made was the wrong one. First my melted chocolate got a drop of water in it and seized into an impenetrable gritty lump. Then I tried to make hot water crust pastry, and it wasn’t working out at all. The thing about hot water crust pastry, is that there’s always a moment when it seems like the whole thing is a failure, but if you retain a sense of humor about it, and persevere, it works out in the end. If, however, you’re already peevey because of seized chocolate, and you get frustrated – disaster! Anyway. Everything worked out okay in the end.

I made this pie yesterday, based on a very vague recipe I saw for Christmas standing pie, which had minced lamb, apples and raisins. I decided to try something similar with black bean “mince.” I invented black bean mince by accident the other night. It’s not very elegant and doesn’t photograph well, but it’s tasty, cheap, and versatile.

black bean mince

When I made it the other night, I added chipotle puree, sage, oregano and cumin, and we ate it with warm tortillas and guacamole. Last night, I seasoned it with sage, rosemary and thyme, and added a bit of marmite.

The pie turned out fine in the end – not the prettiest I’ve ever made, but surprising and tasty.

Here’s Johnny Cash singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Black bean mince

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
lots of olive oil
1/2 cup beer
to taste: sage, thyme, rosemary and a dash of nutmeg
1 t smoked paprika
2 t. tomato paste
1/2 t. marmite
1 T tamari
2 slices of bread, processed into coarse bread crumbs
1 egg

Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, tamari, and marmite. Cook until the shallots and garlic start to brown and then add the beans. Mix well and heat through.

Put the beans in a blender, add the beer, and process until they’re roughly ground. You don’t want it too pasty.

In a bowl, add the bread and egg, and mix well.

Warm a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, and add the black bean mixture. Now you’re going to cook it sort of like you’re making scrambled eggs. Let it brown on the bottom, and then scrape it up and mix that in, then let some more brown. You might need to add more olive oil as you go along. It might take about ten minutes, but you want something that’s got lots of crispy bits and looks like ground meat (I know, that’s sort of weird, but it really does taste good!)

To make the pie…

Roast two cups of cauliflower, mostly florets, cut very fine, and an apple cut in 1/3 inch dice until they’re quite brown and crispy. Stir that into your black bean mince along with about a cup of grated sharp cheddar, 2 T. of chopped golden raisins that have been soaked in water, and most of a beaten egg. Season well with salt and pepper, and add a pinch each of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon and ginger. Put it in your pastry container, Put the lid on top, brush with egg, poke with a fork in a few places and cook at 425 for about half an hour, till it’s golden brown.

soft taco fixings

Here’s how I make guacamole…mash up a ripe avacado with one clove of roasted garlic, some lime juice, some cumin, some cayenne, lots of chopped cilantro and a chopped tomato.



3 thoughts on “Standing Christmas pie

  1. Merry Christmas, Steen, to you and your menfolk! Will you have time to pop back to t’Spill soon, we’re all missing you – and it’s Festive Spill time, too.
    I’ve been working more then usual in the run-up to Christmas, have to yet to wrap presents [have yet to remember where I’ve stashed presents out of little fingers’ reach] and I’ll be checking the contents of my fridge early tomorrow morning to decide what our Christmas dinner could be! I’m thinking maybe roast parsnips on little potato pancakes then topped with cheese sauce, a kind of Christmas rarebit…
    I love so many of the ideas you’ve been posting ón here, and I’ll be trying them out in the New Year.
    Have a Good’Un!

    • Parsnip/cheese/potato pancakes sounds delicious!

      I hope you and your little ones (not so little any more, eh?) have a wonderful wonderful christmas!!

      I’ll be back to the ‘Spill – of course I will! It’s just daunting trying to catch up, because there’s so much good stuff going on over there at the moment!

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