A good few years ago I was watching a repeat episode of Rick Steins 'Food Heroes' on T.V and he was somewhere in Wales, U.K. I think it was in Carmathenshire. I’m not 100% certain. Anyway, he was in a pub and tucking into a 'Meaty Steak and Laverbread Pie'.
As a Welsh girl with a voracious appetite for vegetable based cuisine, it occurred to me why not create a vegetarian variation of this seaweed pie. Well why not? and without intending to sound to boastful I have been quite successful in creating a Welsh Laver Bread Veggie Burger ; and Laverbread Oat Biscuits at home, as well as Welsh Glamorgan Pakora Bites based on Glamorgan sausages. So the kitchen culinary experiments began.
For those of you unfamiliar with Welsh Laver Bread, please follow this link - but in a nutshell its cooked seaweed - a vegetable of the sea!
I have to say I was really chuffed with the result. Not only did I decide to include seaweed in the pie filling, I also decided to incorporate some in the hot water pastry.
When you slice into it with your knife, the smell of the laver bread hits you first as it is quite strong, but the flavour not so strong. In fact, you will find yourself saying, 'where is the 'fishy' laver bread?! Believe me it in there, its flavour enhancing both the meaty texture of the mushrooms and pebble dash Puy lentils.
I do appreciate that not everyone will be able to find/access Welsh Laver bread after all it is a specialist ingredient, so you will be pleased to note that this recipe can also be made without it if you so wish.
Welsh Laverbread, Mushroom and Puy Lenti Pie
Makes 1 large pie or 8 – 10 individual pies
Ingredients for the filling
300g Portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon plain flour
175ml vegetable stock
100g Puy lentils, cooked
120 - 150g laver bread
Salt and pepper to taste
Wipe clean the mushrooms. Slice or quarter each mushroom. Heat the oil in a large pan and sauté the onions until soft and translucent, but not brown. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute before adding in the mushrooms. Keep the heat high and cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently until softened.
Gradually add the flour and stir until evenly combined.
Add the vegetable stock and stir, over high heat until the sauce thickens, before stirring in the puy lentils and laverbread. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and cool to room temperature
Hot Water Pastry
Makes 8 - 10 individual pies or one large 7 - 8 inch round cake tin
Optional: 1 teaspoon of rehydrated hijiki seaweed
325g plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
100g vegetable fat - I use Trex
Olive oil for glazing
For the hot water pastry, mix together the dry ingredients.
Melt the fat in the water and heat until about to boil.
Add the liquid to the flour, along with the rehydrated hijiki and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough is formed.
Now you have to work very quickly with your hands, as the dough will get cold and be tough to work with.
With your fingers mould a ball of pastry into the shape of the individual muffin holes leaving a bit of the pasty overlapping over, but not too much.
Then fill with the cooled filling, press in well.
Roll out the remaining dough, and using a cookie cutter about the size of the muffin hole, cut out required number of lids.
Place over the pastry filling tops, push over the overlapped pastry and gently fork so seal the casing. Brush with oil and make a small steam hole in each pie.
Bake in preheated oven Gas mark 6 for 30 to 35 minutes until golden.
PLEASE NOTE: A variation of this blog post was originally posted 10/10/2011 see here, but with my participation in this months Vegan Mofo 2013, I wanted to share it once again.