Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A Woolton pie for our times

I didn't post yesterday because, no matter how much I would think myself a good writer, I can't stretch "I made bangers and mash" much beyond 5 words.

Today, however, there's more excitement to be had. I'm making a rich Woolton pie and a richer-still tomato soup.

The shortage of tomatoes earlier in the project made me start hoarding tomatoes, buying them whenever I could find them. The result, obviously, was 10 rapidly softening fruits not getting any fresher. A couple were seriously over-ripe, but there's a good way round that: roasting them.

As I've said before, most tomato soup recipes will have you skin and seed them, but the skins and seeds have no further use, so I'm roasting the entire thing. Slice them in half lengthways, sprinkle with sea salt, drop on each a couple of slices of garlic (or a shake of garlic powder) and put some finely chopped basil leaves on top of the entire lot. Cook in a very low oven for an hour. This intensifies the flavour of the tomatoes.

When they're done, I'll finely slice an onion and make up a stock-based roux (it's a broth rather than a cream of tomato soup). When that has become a soup, I'll put the roast tomatoes and a chopped carrot into the broth, boil, then let it cook off the heat covered. If you've got celery, add that. I don't have celery. I've not had celery for bloody weeks. What's the problem with celery shortages?

Anyway, back on topic. When the carrot is soft, drain the lumps from the broth and blend the former and add the resulting mulch back into the broth. Bring back to heat and serve.

Meanwhile, I'm making this rich Woolton pie, with help from my leftover mash from yesterday. I've taken a collection of winter root vegetables (beetroot, carrot, parsnip), a leek, a courgette (US: zucchini) and some mushrooms and cut them to equal sizes. Scrub, but don't peel. Chuck them in a heavy-bottomed pan and put them on a low heat on the stove. Stir a few times at first until they start giving up their liquid, then leave covered for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and leave covered until ready.

I've saved up my cheese ration and some milk and I'll make a cheese sauce (knob of fat, small chopped onion, flour and milk to a roux, crumble in the cheese, make up slowly with more milk and the liquid from the vegetables until you've got a cheese sauce, season as you see fit).

Put the vegetables into a pie dish. Cover with the cheese sauce and stir in. Cover with the mashed potato and place in a medium oven. If you've got cheese left over (I haven't), you can sprinkle that onto the mash; or you can put little pinches of butter on top (I've not got any of that, either). It's done when it's heated through - when the potato starts to get crisp on top.

A Woolton pie will be filling enough on its own; a soup starter certainly means leftovers that will reheat in a low oven tomorrow. The mushrooms give it a meaty flavour, but you can add gravy to make it more exciting if you like gravy-and-cheese in combination (CJBS yes, RJG no).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kiffr, forgetting his password, adds: "This meal was a delight. The roasted tomatoes soup was exotic, like from a restaurant and the Woolton Pie had such a range of (non rationed) vegtables in it, that it was virtually cordon bleu (courgettes, mushroom and leeks anyone?) and the potato topping was crunchy! Only oddity but none the worse for that, was that the cheese element had cooked into the lovely vegetables so thoroughly that there was no taste of cheese per se... Loved the whole thing. It's big too so more tomorrow night. That's good. I like making tgings last two evenings. Appeals to my fear of waste!"