Every other Saturday, the Urban Farmer bursts through the kitchen door in his decades-old Woolrich coat and snowy boots, and he raises a green bag into the air triumphantly. This prized green bag contains his CSA allotment (Community Supported Agriculture), and aside from supporting our region’s farmers, these bags of veggies have pushed us to cook more and to cook more creatively.
Each CSA share is like a cooking show challenge. Beets, turnips, celeriac…go! For this specific green bag, the Urban Farmer really had pie on his mind. As I began to muse, he interjected my visions of beet slice rosettes atop sweetly spiced squash, “No, I want to make a savory pie.” Before he had finished verbalizing his pie goals, he had already begun peeling and chopping, so we dove into his savory plan in that fluid style of cooking- a sprinkle of this, a dash of that, a slice, a chop and a vague recipe underpinning.
Recipe Notes: This recipe is very loose, and you can adapt it based on your winter vegetable bounty and personal preferences. We began with a large baking stone’s worth of roasted vegetables and had more than we needed for the pie, but that excess makes for easy, healthy dinners later in the week. I’ve been reading about sneaking vodka into pie crusts as way to combat the gluten formation that risks a tough crust. Rather than Vodka, I used a few Tablespoons of Art in the Age’s Sage liquor, hoping to avoid gluten and reap the benefits of the herb flavors. You can also experiment with the cheese, herbs and proteins. This would be delicious with salty shavings of pecorino, and next time, we’ll probably add a spicy sausage to the filling. Be inspired, get creative and go crazy!
p.s: We’re looking forward to this time next year when we’ll be making rustic root veggie pies from the fruits of the Urban Farmer’s labor. He’ll be farming his own land this spring!
Rustic Root Vegetable Pie with Blue Cheese & Herbs
For the Filling
Local & Organic Red Onion
Local & Organic Beet(s)
Local & Organic Parsnip(s)
Local & Organic Turnip(s)
Local & Organic Celery Root(s)
Local & Organic Garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
Herbs de Provence
1/4 cup organic brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
blue cheese crumbles
For the Pastry:
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, plus extra for surface
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup organic, unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
5 Tablespoons water, chilled
2-3 Tablespoons Art in the Age Sage Liquor
2 teaspoons melted butter or 1 beaten egg
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Peel and chop the vegetables into thick chunks, and spread on a stone baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Toss to coat. Roast for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until tender.
While the vegetables are roasting, make the pastry.
In a large mixing bowl, briefly whisk the flour and salt.
Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients, until it’s in pea-size pieces that are slightly yellow in color, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Combine the chilled water and Sage liquor. Drizzle the ice water mixture over the flour, a Tablespoon at a time, and mix just until the dough comes together. Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough.
Form the pastry into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to use.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a round shape (rough edges are fine), about ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Put the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Allow this to bubble for about 5 minutes, until it achieves a thick, syrupy consistency. Swirl the pot occasionally.
Place the roasted vegetables in the middle of the pastry round, allowing 1½ to 2 inches around the edges (you may have extra vegetables). Drizzle the balsamic syrup over the vegetables and season with additional salt, pepper and herbs.
Fold the pastry in toward the center, pleating the dough as necessary. Brush the dough with either melted butter or, if you prefer a more golden look, a beaten egg.
Reduce oven heat to 350°F, and bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry turns golden brown.
Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles, and serve warm or cold.