This is my third and final recipe that I have created as part of the Applewood Spreadable #SpreadStirShare challenge in which 20 food bloggers have been tasked with devising some interesting and delicious family recipes using Applewood Spreadable as an ingredient. I have already posted my Cheesy Pea, Leek and Pancetta Gnocchi Bake and the Creamy Pea, Courgette and Mint Risotto, and my final recipe that I enjoyed last night was a Cheese and Vegetable Pie with a side of Kale with Chorizo.
Of the three recipes, this has to be my favourite – but then I do love anything encased in gorgeous pastry, it’s so comforting on a cold, wet winter’s day, and this is a delicious pie filling that I will absolutely be making again.
I used pumpkin, broccoli and leeks in my pie, but you could experiment with whatever you had to hand really. I made a traditional roux – mixing equal parts of butter with plain flour as the basis for this unctuous, decadent cheese sauce, as well as mixing equal parts of the smoky Applewood Spreadable cheese with unsmoked Cheddar.
The kale and chorizo side was to convince the boyfriend that we can sit down to dinner without a big hunk of meat or fillet of fish and with, instead, just a little smidge of meat-stuffs and I’m happy to report he agreed after this lovely meal. This served the two of us comfortably with one portion left over for lunch today – just increase the portion sizes to stretch further!
1 small pumpkin
1 broccoli head
2 leeks, trimmed
50g plain flour
50g salted butter
65g Cheddar (I used some Cathedral City I had in my fridge)
300ml milk (I used full fat)
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
250g puff pastry (I used Jus Rol)
1 beaten egg
100g chorizo cooking sausages
Firstly cut the pumpkin in half carefully, and scoop out all of the seeds. Either retain to toast and enjoy later on or discard. Place on a piece of baking paper on a baking sheet and place in the oven at around 180-200 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.
In the meantime chop off the florets of broccoli and chop up into bite-size pieces. Plunge into some boiling, salted water and cook for 3-4 minutes, to ensure there will be no biting into rock hard vegetables in the pie. Then drain and put to the side.
Once the pumpkin is out of the oven and cool enough to handle, remove the skin and chop into small, bite-sized chunks. Place into an ovenproof dish, and then add the broccoli.
Chop the leeks and then add these, raw to the pie dish with the broccoli and pumpkin.
Next up it’s time to make your cheese sauce. Firstly weigh everything out equally in advance so there is no mad scramble mid-sauce-making as it is a bit of a delicate procedure and needs care and attention! Add the butter to the pan (a tip is to add it in small little knobs so it takes less time to melt and is less likely to burn) – keep on a low heat throughout.
Once the butter is melted, gently add a little of the flour at a time stirring in each time with a wooden spoon or whisk in gently with a balloon whisk. Keep repeating this process until all of the flour has been mixed in.
Now you will add your milk, a little at a time. You may not even need the 300ml, it will depend on how you prefer the consistency of the sauce to be. Once you’ve added about half, add the cheese. I firstly added the grated Cheddar and mixed through until melted through and part of the now-thickening sauce. If you need to, add a little more milk and then add the Applewood Spreadable, again stirring all the while.
Once you are happy with the consistency (it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and velvety smooth with no lumps), continue to cook on a low heat for a further five minutes to ensure the flour is all cooked out.
Remove from the heat, season generously and add a pinch of nutmeg or even cinnamon to add a little warming spice. Taste at this point to ensure it has the right flavour to your taste, if not add more cheese for a cheesier flavour or a little more milk for a milder taste.
Now cover the vegetables with the cheese sauce, using a spoon to ensure each piece of vegetable is nicely coated and place to the side for a moment. If you hadn’t already – get your oven pre-heating at this point at 180-200 degrees.
Now roll your pastry out accordingly so it will fit snugly over the pie. I baked this as a ‘pot pie’ with a just a pastry topping to cut the calories down a little, as it still gives that huge comforting joy of eating a pie, but isn’t quite as naughty. You could of course also top this with mashed potato and a little grated cheese too, but for me puff pastry is king.
Once you’ve covered the pie, egg wash it so it becomes lovely and golden and place into the oven. If you are artistic you could try and make a beautiful puff pastry garnish out of the excess pastry – if you are artistically challenged like myself, you could create something less adventurous:
The pie needs baking for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and ten minutes before the end of baking you can start preparing the side dish.
Firstly chop 100g chorizo sausages into small cubes and add to a dry pan on a medium heat. Chorizo always exudes its own oils, so none is needed here. Once the chorizo has cooked for a good few minutes and is nicely charred on all sides, add the washed kale to the pan and mix continuously. It is more cabbage-like than spinach in the heat and does retain its pretty shape, a few minutes of cooking and this is ready to serve.
Remove the pie from the oven and dish up. Enjoy!
To keep up with the remaining Applewood Spreadable challenge follow the #SpreadStirShare hash tag and check out the Applewood blog for details on the winner due to be announced at the end of this month: http://applewoodcheese.co.uk/blog.php