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Winter warming vegan recipe

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Lydia from Lonely Lentil says this fennel, pinto bean and ale filo pie is packed full of flavour

Fennel, pinto bean and ale filo pie
Fennel, pinto bean and ale filo pie

This pie is a great example of how hearty and satisfying vegan food can be. It’s packed full of nourishing autumnal vegetables, wholesome beans and – hurray – beer. Filo pastry is lovely and crispy, plus, surprisingly, vegan friendly. Siren Brewery’s ‘Marginal Grains’ wheat beer is amazingly delicate and full of the aromatic flavours of foraged herbs and fennel. I was introduced to this beer by Inn At Home, Newbury, and it inspired me to create this recipe. Cheese Etc. from Pangbourne have been popping up at Mrs B’s Kitchen Café on Tuesdays for the past few months, offering a great selection of mostly local cheese. A good vegan cheese is tough to find, so thank goodness Ali introduced me to Kinda Co. vegan cheese. I’ve tried almost their full range of both hard and soft dairy-free cheese now and none disappoint. The feta-style offering in this recipe is wonderful and adds a delicious tanginess to this pie.

Ingredients 70g pinto beans, soaked for at least 12 hours
1 bay leaf, 1 large garlic clove, Olive oil
⅓ large butternut squash (or ½ small), 1 large parsnip and 1 large carrot, all chopped into bite-size chunks
2 heaped teaspoon garlic powder
1tsp dried thyme, 1tsp dried sage
1 onion, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, with inner core removed and thickly sliced
2 generous tbsp tomato purée
2 large vine tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1 tbsp corn flour
1 can of Siren ‘Marginal Grains’ American Wheat Beer (available from Inn at Home)
Sea salt and black pepper
1 jar of Kinda Co. dairy-free greek style cheese (available from Pangbourne Cheese Shop) or regular good quality dairy feta cheese. NB This pie is also delicious without the addition of feta
1 pack ready-made filo pastry
¼ block vegan butter (I use ‘Naturli’ organic vegan block) or good quality dairy butter, melted
2 tbsp sesame seeds, for sprinkling in between filo layers (optional)
1 tbsp dried chives, for sprinkling in between filo layers (optional)

Stage 1: prepare the pie filling
1. Add the soaked pinto beans to a pan of water, along with a generous sprinkling of sea salt, the garlic clove and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Check the beans for tenderness after about 30 minutes. You are looking for a tender bean, but be careful that they don’t overcook and turn mushy. Continue cooking and regularly checking until this texture is achieved.
2. Preheat the oven to 220˚C (200 fan).
3. Mix the butternut, parsnip and carrot chunks into a roasting tin and drizzle generously with olive oil.
4. Mix in 1tsp of the garlic powder, the dried sage and thyme, then season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes. Add in the beans and continue to roast for another 10-15 minutes, until the beans have turned a bit crispy and golden. Set the roasted vegetable mix aside to add to the pie filling later.
5. Drizzle olive oil into a large pan. Add the chopped onion and sauté for about five minutes until tender.
6. Add the garlic powder, fennel, tomatoes, tomato purée and corn flour and stir well. Continue to cook for a further 5 minutes, until the vegetables are turning tender and the flour has cooked out.
7. Pour the beer into the pan and stir well. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
8. Add the roasted vegetables into the pan and stir to evenly incorporate. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Stage 2: Filo time – assembling the pie1. Grease a round pie dish with some olive oil.
2. Lay the first sheet of filo into the dish (don’t worry if it tears... we’re going to add many more layers). Brush the sheet with melted butter. Leave excess pastry overhanging the edge of the dish. Add another layer of pastry and brush with butter… continue this process until you have 6-8 layers of pastry as the pie base.
3. Spoon the cooled filling into the dish. Crumble a generous quantity of the greek cheese on top (if using).
4. Lie another sheet of filo on top of the filling and brush with butter.
5. Fold the overhanging sheets from the base over into the centre of the pie. Add another fresh layer of filo and brush with butter, then repeat twice more.
6. Sprinkle over sesame seeds and dried chives for a little extra texture and flavour.
7. Continue to layer until you have used about six layers (or until you run out of filo sheets).
8. Bake the pie for about 30-15 minutes at 180˚C.

Lonely Lentil supplies rice, pasta, pulses, nuts, dried fruits, dried herbs and spices and other ingredients at sustainable markets in the area. Bring along your container and fill up. Every Monday and Tuesday at Mrs B’s Kitchen Café, 10am-5pm, Every Thursday at The Corn Exchange Newbury, 10am-4.30pm. Alternate Saturdays at West Berkshire Museum, 10am-2pm www.lonelylentil.co.uk

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