This pie uses one of my favourite autumn vegetables. Baby pickling onions are a lovely ingredient that's usually only available for a couple of months and, while I don't care for pickled onions, they're perfect for use in pies and casseroles as they're mild and super sweet. They're particularly good gently braised with green peas and chopped little gem lettuce but that's a recipe for another day.
This pie is incredibly easy and incredibly tasty too. As I've said before, I'm totally incapable of making pastry that's edible, so once again I've used ready rolled puff pastry and that just makes it even easier!
Cheesy Veggie Pie - serves 2
10 baby pickling onions
2 large cauliflower florets
1 large carrot
1 small yellow pepper
1 teaspoon butter or spread (I used Flora Buttery)
1/2 veg stock cube
1/2 pint milk
100g strong cheese grated (I used cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cornflour
about 1/3 of a packet of ready-rolled puff pastry (I used Tesco's own brand)
Peel the carrot and chop into bite sized chunks. Cut the pepper into bite sized pieces and break the cauliflower into smaller florets.
Peeling the baby onions is easy and you don't get the same problem with tears as you do with larger ones. Put them in a jug, cover with boiling water and leave for 2 mins. Drain and cover with cold water. Again leave for 2 mins. then cut off the root and just pull the skin off.
Melt the butter in a medium sized pan and gently sauté the veg for 5 mins with the lid on. This develops the full flavour of the veg. Add enough water to just cover the base of the pan by about 1/2 inch and the crumbled stock cube and simmer with the lid on for 15mins. until the veg is just tender when poked with a sharp knife (you're not boiling the veg just steaming them in the stock). Be careful not to over-cook them at this point as they'll carry on cooking in the oven.
While the veg is cooking, make your cheese sauce. Heat the milk in a small pan until almost boiling. Mix the cornflour with a little water and slowly add to the milk, stirring continuously until it boils and thickens. Turn off the heat and add the Dijon mustard and grated cheese and mix well until the cheese has melted.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the veg and place in your pie dish.
Turn up the heat and reduce the stock for a couple of minutes until you only have about a tablespoonful left, add that to the cheese sauce and then pour the sauce over the veg.
Take the pastry out of the packet and cut off just enough to cover your pie. Cut a couple of holes in the pastry to let any steam out and stop it going soggy.
Put the pie dish on a baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven Gas 7 for 30 mins till golden and crisp.
Serve with green veg on the side.