Christmas need not be all about big meaty dishes (as you will well know if you are Vegetarian or Vegan!); often what the Christmas table needs is a beautiful dish that celebrates the myriad flavours of fruits and vegetables, which are in particularly wonderful condition for our Australian Summer Christmas.
The best part about this Lentil, Chestnut & Cranberry Pie recipe is that it can be made-ahead of the big event. Simply bake before you want to serve, or bake, cool and freeze the day you make it, and then defrost and reheat on serving day. It couldn’t be simpler!
This pie recipe will serve 4-6. To serve more people, make 1 ½ or 2 times the recipe, but ensure not to make dishes physically larger than the recipes dictate as this changes the cooking time and consistency significantly.
500g shortcrust pastry (homemade or store bought)
3 cloves garlic
20 button mushrooms
2 large potatoes
1 bunch English spinach
Bunch of thyme, half reserved
100g cooked lentils
100g chestnut meat, cooked
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
- Finely slice the leeks, finely chop the garlic. Peel and finely dice the potatoes. Remove the roots and roughly chop the English spinach. Strip the leaves from the thyme and discard the stalks. Roughly chop the leaves.
- In a large pan or pot, add the butter and place on medium-low heat. Cook the leeks until softened, add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme and potatoes. Stir through and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the lentils, chestnuts, cream and spinach and cook for a further few minutes. Add the cranberries. Season filling to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
- Grease a large muffin tin. Cut bases and lids to the size of the muffin cups in your tin.
- Line each hole with a base piece and then add cooled filling. Top with a pastry lid and press with fingers to seal top and bottom together. Press with the back of a fork all around to seal further. Cut stars from the pastry scraps and press these to the centre of each pie.
- Freeze and then when totally frozen, pop them out of the muffin tin and keep in a zip lock bag. Or if you don’t need the tin for anything else, just wrap the whole thing will in cling film and freeze for up to two months
- To bake, defrost completely and brush the tops of the pies with beaten egg. Cut a little steam cross in the centre of each star.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Decorate tops with thyme sprigs and serve.
- Bake pies will keep for up to one week in the fridge or one month in the freezer, but try to bake these just before serving.