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August 10, 2014 | by  | in Food Opinion |
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Carrot, kumara and lentil pies with vegetarian gravy

When I became a vegetarian, at the earnest and self-righteous age of ten, the thing I immediately missed the most was roast chicken, but mostly for the gravy and stuffing. As a teenager, I started making vegetarian gravy and stuffing (not that stuffing isn’t normally vegetarian but its eponymous cooking method is). The combination of stuffing/gravy/roast vegetables is one of my favourite winter comfort foods, but here’s a more interesting alternative.

I bought puff pastry because I’m lazy as heck, but my tip for making it is to freeze the butter you use for half an hour or so, then grate it into the flour. This makes it easier to rub in.

Filling:
1 large or 2 small kumara, chopped into small cubes
2 carrots, chopped into 1-inch cubes
200 g mushrooms, diced
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
olive oil/butter for cooking
1 can drained, cooked brown lentils

Gravy:
1 onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Marmite or Vegemite (I’m a Vegemite girl)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sage

Roast the kumara and carrots with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Fry the mushrooms and garlic in butter.

Sauté the onion, oregano and sage in the butter at a medium heat, then add the flour and turn the heat down. Stir with a wooden spoon until all combined and the roux (butter and flour mixture) has turned a light brown colour. Slowly add the stock, bit by bit, stirring constantly. Once all mixed in, turn the heat back up to med-high, and add the Marmite or Vegemite. Add some pepper and check the salt levels; add if required. Reduce the gravy over a low heat, stirring often to ensure a skin doesn’t develop.

Assembly:
Roll the pastry out and cut it into circles to fit into your muffin tray/pie tins/etc. Cut smaller circles for the tops of the pies.
Mix the gravy and the vegetables together, add the lentils, then spoon into the pie cases. Attach the pie tops and brush the tops with an egg wash of one beaten egg mixed with three tablespoons of water if you have it. Cook at 180 °C for half an hour or so, or until the pastry is golden-brown.

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