Beet and kidney (bean) pies

Beet and kidney bean pie

Beet and kidney bean pie

It’s take your child to work day. The boys are at the shop with David, hopefully not routering their arms or circular sawing their fingers. Take your child to work day. It’s a little odd, when you stop to think about it, which for better or for worse I’ve just done. It seems to imply a certain neatness and regularity to the world that just doesn’t exist, as I see the world. Does every parent have a safe, child-friendly job? Does every parent have bosses and co-workers that will put up with an infestation of restless children? Does every parent have a job they can work at productively whilst entertaining a bored and or curious tyke? Does every parent have a job during school hours? Maybe they’re chefs or professors or rock stars or stage actors, and they work at night. Does every parent have a job at all? 399919_10200595609406883_2047603223_nI’ve just read that the day was invented by Gloria Steinem as Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and was intended to give girls a sense of possibility and purpose. This makes it seem even odder to me, almost as if it was subversively designed to illustrate the messiness of the world. How many children are bundled off to work with their fathers, because their mothers don’t work during the week because they’re home with children. Maybe they work at night or on the weekend so that they can be there to pick up their children after school. Maybe they have a job but its the kind of job many women have at some point in their lives–cooking or cleaning or caring for someone else’s children, and, strangely, this isn’t the kind of job you’d like to share with your own child. Maybe, like many women, you’re not treated with respect at your job, you’re not treated as an equal. A lot of things have changed, a lot of things have not. Of course, all of this stopping-to-think-about-it has included some thoughts on my own life, my own work, my own ideas of success or failure and how they don’t quite fit into those of the rest of the world. Any thing you do is considered work if somebody pays you to do it. And the more they pay you, the more successful you are at your job. I’ve been doing a bit of pastry cheffing, and yesterday I made a cake for a restaurant. If the boys had stayed home and helped me with that, they would have been at work with me (and we would have had fun!). Today, I don’t have any commissions for cake, so if the boys stayed home from school and baked a cake with me, we’d be goofing off (and we’d still have fun!). If I sit around writing or cooking or conspiring to make a movie, I’m a shiftless slacker who should go out and get a real job (I know, I know…). If somebody pays me to do those things, I’m a person who has followed my dreams to find success (although I probably still can’t afford health insurance.) Everything is a little different looked at through the prism of parenthood. What seems brave and valuable when you’re a single person with only yourself to care for, seems irresponsible once you have children. We have our own small business. We work seven days a week, one way or another, and the truth is that the boys spend all weekend every weekend at work with David, watching him watch the store while I wait tables. This is life as they know it. We don’t have days off or weekends or paid vacations, and we still can’t afford health insurance. And all summer when they knock about the house with me, cleaning and cooking and keeping themselves happy and creative, waiting impatiently while I finish writing some dumb thing so we can go to the creek, they’re at work with me, whether they know it or not. It’s messy, it doesn’t fit into any tidy pattern of employment, but I think they’re okay with it. I think they’re proud of us, and have a sense of possibility and purpose. I think they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Beet and kidney bean pie

Beet and kidney bean pie

Beet and kidney bean pie! It’s ruddy! This was inspired, of course, by beef and kidney pie, or steak and kidney pie. It does have a certain meaty quality to it. It’s roasted beets and mushrooms combined with kidney beans in a saucy sauce of tamari, sage, rosemary, thyme and allspice. If you use vegetable shortening instead of butter in the crust, this would be vegan.

Here’s King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band with Workingman’s Blues.


2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, frozen
1/3 cup olive oil

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and pepper. Grate in the butter and mix with a fork until coarse and crumbly. Stir in the olive oil. Mix in just enough ice water (about 1/3 cup) to make a workable dough. Knead for about 1 minute. Wrap in foil and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.


1 largish beet
10 oz mushrooms – white or baby bella
1 t sage
1 t thyme
olive oil to coat
1 T olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t rosemary, chopped
2 T tomato paste
1 T tamari
1/2 t tamarind concentrate
1 can dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup white wine
1 t balsamic
pinch allspice
salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Peel the beet and slice it into pieces about 1 inch by 1/2 inch by 18th inch. Coat these with olive oil and spread them in a single layer on a large baking tray. Slice the mushroom into thin pieces. Coat these with olive oil, mix with thyme and sage, and spread in a single layer on a smaller baking tray.

Roast the vegetables for 30 or 40 minutes, until they’re dark and crispy and caramelized.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the shallot, stir and cook for about a minute, add the garlic and rosemary. Stir and cook for about a minute until it starts to brown. Stir in the tomato paste, tamari and tamarind concentrate, and mix till you have a thick paste. Add the kidney beans and stir to coat. Add the white wine, stir and cook till the sauce is thickened. Then add enough water to make a sort of thick gravy (1/4 to 1/2 cup). Add the balsamic, allspice, salt and pepper, and stir in the beets and mushrooms.


Butter 1 large-muffin pan with six holes.

Divide the dough into six balls, and divide each ball into 2/3 1/3 pieces. Roll each larger piece into a round about 1/8th inch thick. Press this into the muffin tin. It doesn’t need to be neat all the way around. Fill each pastry-lined hole with filling. Roll all the smaller pieces of dough into a circle just larger than the top of each hole in the muffin tin. Place over the filling and pinch the sides together. Seal each with the tines of a fork, and poke the top of each once or twice.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops of each are golden brown. They should come out quite easily. Let them cool for a few minutes and serve.


4 thoughts on “Beet and kidney (bean) pies

  1. I absolutely had no real belief that I would find a recipe like this! Thought I would give it a try to Google something like this, but thought I was crazy expecting anything like this, lol. I usually don’t like comments/reviews that are “How lovely that looks”, without having ever tasted or cooked the recipe. They are not at all helpful to those who are looking for actual reviews, tips on making it that someone else may have tried. However,I felt compelled to comment immediately upon finding this. I will post again when I have tried it!

    I have been binge watching a show on Acorn TV, an older British show called Pie in the Sky. A DCI who wants to retire and open a restaurant, opens the restaurant while still working for the force. His number one dish of note is a steak and kidney pie, which is referenced on nearly every episode. I never had any interest in those types of dishes, even when I was eating meat. But for some reason I had this intense desire to create a vegan alternative! I had a fabulous “steak” last night of a giant portabella mushroom cap, and it was wonderful. Was thinking I could make something like that pie with… mushrooms and kidney beans. Don’t use beets much, but I will have to buy some to try this pie!

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