Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Savory Pumpkin Pie

This is not vegan. It does not contain pumpkin. It is not technically a pie.

Now that your expectations are low, allow me to state that I served this dish to my avowed carnivore parents as part of a plant-based dinner, and they ate it up and did not complain about the lack of giant carbon hoofprints on the table. It's a vegetarian meal you can serve to Midwesterners.

Bacon's a vegetable, right?

My mother states that this first bit is unnecessarily finicky and without benefit. I'm willing to accept that it's coincidence that every squash I've roasted turned out to be delicious while those cooked near liquids turned into insipid yellow things, so leave this out if you're pressed for time. And hate rainbows. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a winter squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Brush with oil, if you're fancy. Bake for 30 minutes- 1 hour, until the squash is soft. (I used a Delicata, but acorn, Hubbard, or even a pumpkin would also work. If you're leaving out the pre-roasting, use the frozen bagged kind, since you're clearly in some sort of rush. Also because the amount of effort it takes to peel a raw acorn squash is greater than the amount of effort it takes to abandon your standards.)

Obtain a pie crust. There will be no veiled snark if you obtain one from a store, with money. Once your skill with pastry making is great enough so that it's not a huge pain, you will make pie at all times and have moderately elevated cholesterol at an unusually young age. (Quick recipe: 10 parts flour, 5 parts shortening, pinch of salt, one part cold water, one part vodka. Mix half the flour with the shortening, then blitz in the other half (and the salt). Add the liquids, chill briefly, and then smash the Play-doh like substance with a rolling pin until it resembles a crust. It's sticky, so do this on saran wrap. Oh, and use about 20 tbs of flour for one crust.)

Dice an onion. Saute in oil, or perhaps the rendered fat of a solitary strip of bacon. Crumble said bacon into tiny bits.

Peel the squash. Cut into bite sized chunks. Place within crust. Dot with onion and possible bacon.

Make a roux with 1 tbs. white flour and 1 tsp. oil. (Look, the shortening's already out, and we can't pretend this recipe is healthy, so...) Add about 1/2 cup vegetable broth or milk. Stir vigorously, until there are no more lumps. Add 1/4 cup grated jack cheese and 1/2 tsp thyme. (I'll bet it would be entirely edible with just a white sauce, no cheese. However, I was aiming for something my father would eat.) Pour the sauce over the squash. There won't be quite enough, and you will feel virtuous about not being decadent.

If your pie crust is very generous around the edges, fold it in for a nice tart appearance. Otherwise, fine. It is actually a pie. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

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