Chickpea and Courgette Filo Pie

Another pie, which demands to be shared, thereby bringing my postings on Pies up to three in about a week, is one that I made for supper last night, Chickpea and Courgette Filo Pie. I originally read about this recipe in Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which is a great baking book, filled with many inspirational ideas that hopefully will remain in recipe lexiconography for years to come. The great thing about many of these recipes is that you don’t need to have the book out the countertop with you to guide you along. Once you’ve cooked a dish a couple of times, their simplicity allows you to make them freely and easily, changing the spices around, tweaking here and there. This is a good thing in a cookbook, not least of all because I’m always misplacing my books, under the bed, under the settee, under the greyhound...
Anyway, the following recipe is one of those simplistic dishes, a quickly prepared meal that can be prepped and on the table within about an hour. And that’s not at all bad for something that uses Filo Pastry. Also great if you need to cook a vegetarian meal because the ingredients are so substantial, I doubt even a die-hard carnivore would refuse seconds.
This is a warming, wintery dish that is all about soft textures: the gentle nutty chickpeas, the crumbly rice and the tender courgettes, all swathed in their golden spices. My husband thinks that this would be good with some undyed, creamy smoked haddock flaked into it and raw egg stirred through, before incasing in pastry - it would then be, I suppose, a Kedgeree Filo Pie - a recipe that demands to be cooked. Watch this space.
Chickpea and Courgette Filo Pie
Pack Filo Pastry, defrosted
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
2 Large Courgettes (Zucchini), topped and tailed,
and cut into 1cm chunks or thereabouts
1 Tin Chick Peas, drained
100g Basmati Rice
200ml Vegetable Stock
1 teaspoon Tumeric
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Grind Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 180c
Lightly oil an 8” Loose Bottomed Deep Cake Tin (at least 6” deep).
Sautee the onion and garlic in a little Olive Oil until softly translucent.
Add a couple of tablespoons more of Olive Oil and stir in the chopped Courgette. Add the Tumeric, Coriander, Salt and Pepper. Cook over a low heat until the Courgette is tender and yielding to a knifepoint.
Stir in the Rice, coat well until glistening, then add 150ml of the stock. Stir once. Leave to cook over a low simmer, until the rice is just cooked. Depending on the brand of rice, you may need to add more of the stock.
Stir in the chickpeas and heat gently. Taste for seasoning. You may need more salt.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes whilst you fiddle around with the Filo Pastry.
Melt 50g butter over low heat. This will work as your glue for the Filo Pastry, and also ensure that you get a crisp finish and not a chewy, floury calamity.
Working with once piece of Filo at a time, using a large pastry brush, brush one side of the pastry with the melted butter. Lay it in the tin, butter side up (because you have already greased the tin), so that it should cover part of the bottom of the tin and overlap the edge of the tin too. This overlap will later be folded in to make the top of the pie.
Repeat with the other pieces of the pastry until you have worked your way around the tin, ensuring that there are no gaps or tears, particularly in the bottom.
n.b. You will find, as I did, that working with Filo Pastry is not very scary at all. It is a bit like working with a delicate fabric or ancient sea scroll, except that if you tear the pastry it doesn’t really matter because you can always put another layer over the top.
Once you have lined your tin with the pastry, pour in the slightly cooled Chickpea and courgette mixture. Pat down to level it off and fold in the layers of filo pastry to form a top seal. Brush with any remaining butter. To make it look pretty (and because I like the pull the pieces of the top), brush 4 or 5 more pieces of the Filo with butter, crumple gently into rosette shapes and place in a circular pattern on the top of the pie (see photo). These aren’t really necessary but they do taste good. Brush with butter and place in oven for half an hour (but check after 20 minutes because Filo has a tendency to burn quickly due to its diaphanous thinness.
Once cooked, remove from the oven but leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from the tin and place on a serving plate. You may want to leave to cool for a bit longer as it has a tendency to collapse if you cut it when it’s still too hot but no matter. It still tastes great no matter on how it’s presented.

1 comment:

Lynne Miles said...

I've made this pie a number of times for veggie and non-veggie audiences and I've never had anyone refuse seconds... it's one of my staples.

I like to crumble some feta into it for a bit of tanginess.