Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Spicy Lentil and Carrot Pasties Recipe

Wonderful that the choice of food is in Germany, one thing that Deutsche Küche lacks is much by the way of pies and pasties. I guess I find this notable because British cooking has so many savoury pastry dishes: Cornish pasties, cheese and onion pasties, beef wellington, sausage rolls, Melton Mowbray pies, steak bakes, vol au vents, game pie ... the list goes on. Greggs the Bakers would not be profitable if they opened a branch in Berlin is all I'm saying.

It's not as if the ingredients for a good pastie are not hard to get. They even have ready-made puff pastry readily available in die Supermärkte, which is labelled as Blätterteig, but what the German cook uses it for I can't guess.

Anyway, as an exercise in cultural exchange, here's my easy recipe for spicy vegetarian lentil and carrot pasties. This recipe make four large pasties, usually with filling left over, or six smaller pasties.

First, get together your ingredients.

Then, take the chilled ready-made puff pastry from the fridge to let it come to room temperature. My pack has 275g of pastry in a single sheet. If you are a masochist with time on your hands, you can make your own puff pastry.

Next, put the following into a pot with a lid:
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup water
1 tsp stock powder

Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer gently until the water has been almost absorbed, but the mixture is still wet and the lentils haven't entirely disintegrated. About 5 to 10 minutes maximum.

Meanwhile, peel, wash and dice:
1 medium onion (140g or so)
2 x carrots (~ 200g)
1 x potato (~ 140g)

And finely chop:
About a thumb of ginger

Soften the onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil in a thick-bottom pan. I add a teaspoon of black mustard seeds to the oil first, and when they start to pop, the oil is hot enough for the onions.
After a couple of minutes or so, add the ginger and continue to gently cook for another two minutes.

Next throw the diced carrots and potato into the pot, and let that saute for five minutes.

Then add your spices. Type and quantities involved here are up to you, but I am using:
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
I also add a good pinch of salt and a twist or two of black pepper.

Mix the spices over the softening vegetables to coat them, then stir in the lentil mixture. If your lentils and carrots have gone a bit anaemic, then squirt in a tablespoon of tomato puree to give them a bit of colour.

Let this simmer very gently for five minutes. Do not let it burn on the bottom of the pan. If it looks too dry, then loosen up with a splash or two of water. It should now look like this:

Take off the heat and put to one side to cool down. If you are in a hurry, place the pan into a washing-up bowl of cold water (obviously not letting the water get in the pan with the lentil/vegetable/spice mixture). What you shouldn't do is put piping hot mixture onto pastry or the pastry will melt and tear. Also, fingers will inevitably be involved, so you don't want to burn those either.

Now, turn the oven on and let it warm up to a medium heat - say about 190 degrees C.

Unroll your puff pastry on a floured worktop and give a gentle roll.

With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle of pastry in half, then quarters. You now have four rectangles of pastry, and each one will become a pastie.

Place a sheet of baking paper onto a baking tray, and onto that place a rectangle of puff pastry.

Now, spoon some of your cooled lentil mixture into one half of the rectangle only, with a 1cm margin between the mixture and the edge of the pastry. Moisten the edge of the pastry rectangle with a brush of water or a little milk. Then fold the pastry over the mixture and press down the edges to enclose the mixture in a neat little packet. If it's not so neat, then don't worry, the rustic artisan look is good too. Just make sure the edges are sealed so the mixture won't leak out during cooking.

Brush with milk, and cut a few slits into the top to let steam out. If you are feeling adventurous, sprinkle with sesame seeds, or poppy or nigella seeds.

Repeat three times, so that all the pastry rectangles have been made into proto-pasties.

Here is a piccy of what they might look like. Yours might well be neater.

Place on the middle shelf in the oven, and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Serve hot with the accompaniment of your choice. They go equally as well with salad as they do drizzled with brown onion gravy and served with peas and broccoli. They can also be left to go cold, and make a robust addition to a picnic.

Thank you, you're very welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Looks delish! I'm going to guess that Germans use puff pastry for sweet baked goods. Could even use it for apple dumplings.


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