Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mile High Vegetable Pie

My mom is here for a few days.  We've been doing the family thing the last few days:  my mom's brothers and spouses, my cousins and spouses and their kids here; and then my mom and her brothers and cousins out for lunch a couple of days later.  With big family groups, we do a lot of potluck.  But with my mom staying here, we try a lot of new things.
My mother and I are both believers in having company and trying new recipes.  If it works, you're a genius, and if you don't, have a funny story later and people to help you hide the evidence in the present.  So it's not a surprise when my mom comes that we try new recipes that we probably wouldn't try with 2 of us at home.
I know I've said it before, but I'm a big fan of the Podleski sisters and their wildly successful series of cookbooks, Looneyspoons.  Their recipes are fun, made with pantry staples, and delicious.  While their original cookbook is now somewhat outdated in terms of nutrition trends, the recipes are solid.  They're low in fat, and often with a few tweaks are something that we enjoy.
I don't tweak a lot of recipes without trying them once.  One should, I believe, trust the process of the author.  But in this case, when I read 2 cups of mushrooms, there was no way they'd be going into my main course; and I don't keep reduced fat butter or margarine, nor do I use egg substitute.  Tweaking was necessary.
This is exactly what the title suggests:  lots of vegetables on a crust.  With a little egg and cheese to hold it together, how could that be bad?
I present to you now from the Looneyspoons gals, Mile High Vegetable Pie:

For the Crust:
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 slices whole-wheat bread, cubed (about 6 c)
1/2 tsp each dried oregano, basil, savoury, and black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c chicken broth
For the Filling:
1 tsp butter
1/2 large onion, chopped
10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
2 tsp hot sauce (I used Garlic Goodness)
1 c shredded old cheddar cheese
1/2 c chopped yellow pepper
1 c broccoli florets
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
6 eggs, beaten

1.  Make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 400F.  Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onion, garlic and celery, stirring frequently and cooking until soft.  Add spices to the pan and stir before tossing with breadcrumbs.  Pour broth over the bread and stir to moisten.  Remove from heat.
2.  Line an 8" springform pan with foil and grease lightly.  Press bread mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Set aside and prepare filling.
3.  Make the Filling:  In the same skillet, melt butter, and add onion, cooking until soft.  Add spinach and hot sauce, stirring well to break up the spinach and incorporate the hot sauce.  Remove from heat.
4.  Layer 1/2 c of cheese over the crust.  Top with 1/2 of the spinach mixture, followed by the peppers and broccoli.  Layer with remaining cheese, spinach, and then top with tomato slices.  Pour beaten eggs over the vegetables.
5.  Bake at 400F for 40 minutes, until the egg is set.  Let stand for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan and foil.  Slice and serve.
Adapted from Looneyspoons

This crust?  It's essentially dressing pressed into the springform.  I didn't do a good job of lining the pan with foil, and it stuck something fierce.  This smelled so good going together.
The great thing about this recipe in summer is the fresh tomatoes.  I would love to make a riff on this using tomatoes and the spinach mixture.  Not quite as many servings of vegetables, but sounds good nonetheless.
Isn't this pretty?  It was delicious too.  It serves 6, and that's a large piece.  We had 2 lunches, and it was equally as good reheated the second day.

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