Saturday, September 28, 2013

eggplant & leek pie with herbal pesto

This dish came about when I was visiting Tammy this summer. We were inspired by the eggplant she had just bought from her farmer's market, and the idea of making a pie. Honestly, for the entire construction of this dish we were thinking we might be ordering pizza. But we continued on, faithfully determined to at least see it to the end. And it was a good thing because it turned out truly delicious. We kept the flavors herbal and earthy.

By the time we sat down to eat, any photo opportunity was gone. Once home, I made it again, but decided to wait until the weather turned a bit cooler to post. Funny, it didn't seem that complicated a dinner to put together when there were two of us. So, it is something to take on when you're in the mood for some good kitchen time. It is also a great thing to make and reheat the next day. I thought it was actually better the next day, as so many things are.

First, you need two pie crusts, one for the top and one, for the bottom. This recipe is the perfect amount, just divide the dough into two discs.

2 TB butter or olive oil
3 leeks, white part and light green part only
5-6 cups peeled and chopped eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant)
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 head of chard, center stem removed and torn into pieces

for the pesto:
1 cup raw walnuts
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 cups packed basil
1 cup arugula
1 tsp minced rosemary
1 tsp minced oregano
1 tsp minced thyme
1/2 tsp salt
juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil

3 TB daiya cream cheese (we used the onion and chive variety)
couple tablespoons of milk of your choice

Put the walnuts and garlic into a cuisinart and pulse a few times. Add everything else except the oil and blend until everything is pretty chopped up, then drizzle in the oil until you get the consistency you are after.

The pie crust should be refrigerated for at least 30 minutes before using. Take out your first dough, roll it out and place in a pie dish. Poke a couple of holes on the bottom and bake at 375 for about 8 minutes until the dough has set. Let cool while you work on the vegetable mixture.

Sauté the leeks in a bit of butter, oil, or water until they begin to soften, maybe 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and cook over medium low until they're almost done. I added a bit of water and put on a lid, to avoid adding more oil. This is a lot of vegetables but they'll cook down a bit. Add the chili flakes and chard and cook until the chard has wilted, just a couple of minutes. When everything has cooked, stir in the cream cheese and the pesto.
Pour/pile high the veggies into the pie crust. Roll out the second pie crust and lay it on top of the vegetable mixture. Tuck in the edges. Cut a few slits in the top and brush with milk. Bake at 375 for about 50 minutes until the top is golden. You will need a cookie sheet pan underneath because there is a good chance oil will spill over. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. We served ours with sliced tomatoes, but a salad would be nice also.

Proving to be as delectable as the first night, cheers, Tammy!

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