Potato Leek Galette

Image by Deb Garlick

If you’re a pastry novice, consider the galette as a gateway pie. With no crimping to master or tart pan to line, a galette is a terrific way to ease into pastry. The rustic potato and leek galette, pictured above, is a mouth-watering mixture of slow-cooked leeks, a medley of cheese, and thinly sliced potatoes bundled in a flaky pastry casing. When leeks are covered and cooked patiently over low heat, they become sweet and meltingly tender. Recipe featured in EAT magazine.

 

 

Makes two 8-inch galettes (each galette serves 4-6).

Note: The pies can be assembled and refrigerated up to 24 hours before baking. 

1 recipe for Flaky Pastry Dough

Potato Leek Filling

2 Tbsp unsalted butter 

3 lbs leeks, about six medium, white part only, washed and thinly sliced about six cups  

Kosher salt 

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus lemon zest from one lemon 

6 oz soft cheese, such as goat cheese or cream cheese, about ¾ cup   

4 oz shredded Greyère cheese, about 1 cup  

5 oz of crumbled feta, about 1 cup  

4 anchovies, optional, rinsed and finely minced (or 2 tsp anchovy paste) 

2 tsp finely minced garlic, about 2 cloves 

1 tsp dried chili flakes (use less if you prefer a tamer galette) 

2 medium new potatoes 

2 Tbsp vegetable oil 

2 tsp fresh rosemary 

2 tsp fresh thyme 

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese  

2 Tbsp whipping cream (or beaten egg)  

Prepare the dough according to the instructions. Divide the dough in half and roll each portion on a sheet of parchment generously dusted with flour, into a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter, 1/8 inch thick. Cover and refrigerate.

To prepare the filling:

Preheat oven to 375°F.

 Melt the butter in a large saucepan; add the sliced leeks and ½ tsp salt. Cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely soft and tender, about 30 minutes. If the mixture becomes dry and threatens to burn, add a splash of water. Remove the lid for the last five minutes of cooking to allow any residual moisture to evaporate. Add the lemon juice. Cool completely. 

In a small bowl combine the soft cheese, Greyère, feta, anchovies, garlic, chili flakes, and lemon zest. 

Slice the potatoes as thinly as possible, preferably with a mandoline or vegetable slicer.  Place in a bowl with 2 Tbsp oil and mix to ensure the potatoes are completely coated. Spread the potatoes onto two parchment-lined baking sheets in a single layer. Bake in a preheated oven until the potatoes are barely cooked and not yet browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven.   

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F and preheat a baking tray. (The preheated tray helps the pastry base firm up faster, thereby preventing a soggy crust.) Remove the pastry from the fridge, leaving the parchment beneath your pastry as you work. Divide the cheese mixture equally between the pastry circles, and spread the mixture evenly on each, leaving a 2-inch border. Divide the rosemary and thyme and scatter evenly over the cheese mixture. 

Divide the cooled leeks and spread evenly over the cheese and herbs, leaving a 2-inch border. 

Finally, divide the cooked potatoes and layer them on top of the leeks, overlapping slightly, leaving a generous 2-inch border. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. 

Fold the pastry border towards the center of each galette, crimping the pastry as you fold.  Brush the edges with cream (or beaten egg) and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese.

Carefully remove the baking tray from the oven, and transfer the galettes, with the parchment paper underneath them, onto the heated tray.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400°F then reduce the temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until the pastry is browned and cooked through, about 40 minutes total. Rotate the pan halfway through baking and cover with foil as necessary to prevent burning. Cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or re-warm in a low oven.


Stuffed Tomatoes

Images by Deb Garlick

Sweet roasted tomatoes pair beautifully with a stuffing of briny Kalamata olives, marinated artichoke hearts, sautéed kale and nutty brown rice. A touch of smoked paprika lends a warm smoky note to this flavourful side dish.

Select medium, same-sized tomatoes to ensure even cooking.  

Makes 8 

8 medium tomatoes

2 Tbsp vegetable oil  

2 medium onions, minced

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

4 cups finely chopped kale

1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped, tough leaves discarded

1 cup cooked brown rice, spelt, farro, or groats 

8 Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

2 anchovies, optional, finely minced

1 tsp hot sauce (such as Sriracha) 

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

1/4 cup goat cheese

You’ll need a deep ovenproof dish large enough to hold the stuffed tomatoes.  

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Tomatoes – Slice the tops off the tomatoes and reserve them. Carefully remove and reserve the flesh and seeds, being mindful not to damage the tomatoes. Slice just enough from the base of each tomato to keep it upright.

Filling – Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions over medium heat until golden, stirring occasionally, to prevent burning.  Add the garlic and stir continuously for half a minute, or until the garlic is aromatic. Add the reserved chopped tomato and smoked paprika.  Cook until the tomatoes have reduced and no liquid remains.

Add half the kale and cook until reduced, then add the balance, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. When all the kale has reduced, add the remaining ingredients except for the cheese. Mix well to combine. Taste the filling and season with additional vinegar or salt, if desired.

Using a small spoon, carefully stuff the tomatoes with the filling, being careful not to damage them. Top each tomato with a bit of goat cheese and cover with the reserved tomato tops. Transfer to an ovenproof container and cover loosely with foil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes are soft, but still hold their shape.  Remove the foil the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 


Sweet Tart Dough

Image by Caroline West

If you can make cookies, you can make Sweet Tart Dough. The pastry comes together easily and provides a firm and buttery base for your favourite tart filling. Using butter rather than shortening makes a delicious but delicate pastry with a crisp cookie-like texture. 

Roll the dough between parchment paper and plastic wrap (plastic on top to see the dough) to prevent the dough from sticking to your work surface and rolling pin. If the dough becomes too soft, chill in the refrigerator then start again.

 

Makes two 10” tarts or 4 dozen 2” tarts

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp table salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

3½ cups all-purpose flour

Combine the softened butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing by hand.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the flour all at once and mix just until the dough just comes together.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and shape it into a disk about 1” thick. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Transfer the chilled dough to a sheet of parchment dusted with flour. Place a sheet of plastic wrap on top and roll the dough to about ⅛” thick, from the center toward the pastry’s edge in all directions. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, place it in the fridge until it firms up again.

Remove the plastic wrap and, using your tart mold as a guide, cut the dough about an inch wider the mold for large starts (about half an inch for small tarts). Line the mold with the pastry, pressing the dough against the sides, and trim the edges.

Cover with plastic and refrigerate until firm. Pastry can be stored in the fridge, unbaked, for two days or in the freezer for up to six weeks


Mulligatawny Stew

Mulligatawny Stew

In the damp grey days of late winter, Mulligatawny stew provides the comfort of a worn sweater. It’s a rustic stew of root vegetables, tart apples, fresh ginger, and fragrant Indian spices, made rich and silky, with the addition of coconut milk.

Like all stews (or soups, if you add additional liquid), Mulligatawny is made for tinkering, so feel free to improvise. A little more pepper, a little less vegetable, a handful of lentils, some rice, or diced chicken … all these work with this recipe. And, as with all stews and soups, the flavours only get better after a day or two in the fridge.

Delightful on its own, or served atop a tangle of warm rice noodles. Shabby sweater optional.

 

makes about 11 cups

1 tsp whole mustard seed

1 tsp whole cumin

1 tsp whole coriander

1 Tbsp curry powder

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions finely chopped

2 tsp minced fresh ginger, about 1 inch piece, grated on a microplane

2 tsp minced garlic

1 Tbsp minced jalapeño pepper, about one medium pepper

2 400 ml (14 fl ounce) cans coconut milk (not light)

1 796 ml (28 fl ounce) can good quality (San Marzano type) tomatoes, crushed with a fork

1 large carrot, diced

2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato, about 1 medium

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced, and sprinkled with 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade), vegetable stock, or water, plus more as required

1 cup diced kale

1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas

Garnish

1/2 cup roasted pistachios or cashews, chopped

Place the mustard seeds, cumin and coriander in a dry skillet and toast over medium-high heat until aromatic, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and process until finely ground. Tip the spice mixture into a small bowl and add the curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric and salt. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion until translucent and just starting to brown around the edges. Add the ginger, garlic, jalapeño pepper and spice mixture, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

Add the thickest portion of the coconut milk (the part that floats to the surface of the can), about one third from each can, to the onion spice mixture. Simmer the mixture for about five minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Add the remaining coconut milk, tomatoes, carrot, sweet potato, apples and stock or water. Simmer uncovered until the vegetables and apple are cooked through.

Taste the stew, adding additional salt, or lemon juice, if desired.  Thin with additional water or stock, if you prefer a lighter stew.

A few minutes before serving, add the chopped kale and chickpeas and warm though.  Serve in warmed bowls and garnish with roasted pistachios or cashews.

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Lemony Chicken Pot Pies

Lemony Chicken Pot Pie

I rediscovered these delicious pies when a kindly neighbor, someone I barely knew, knocked on my door and presented me with a wooden tray of still-warm chicken pot pies. I had just returned from the hospital and answered the door balancing a wailing infant in each arm. Every time I tuck into a chicken pot pie, I remember my neighbor’s kindness and the simple comfort of an old-fashioned savoury pie.

Those wailing babies?  They’re now chatty, leggy teens, who order up chicken pot pies whenever they’re given the choice.  

Pies can be made in any size if container. During a home exchange in Bordeaux one summer, I found in a cupboard a beautiful blue terrine, pictured below.  My globe-trotting friend, Caroline West, was there to capture the image and enjoy the pie.

This is not a difficult recipe but it does take time to prepare. I prefer to prepare my pastry in advance, leaving only the filling to prepare. You can use ready-made pastry dough but nothing compares to homemade.

For the flakiest crust, I use lard and have consistently good results from the recipe on the back of the Tenderflake box.

The key to making flaky pastry is a light touch and not adding too much flour. This is easy when you roll the dough between a sheet of parchment and plastic wrap (plastic on top, so you can see what you’re doing). This prevents the dough from sticking to the table, which means you don’t need to add additional flour or handle the dough excessively. If you’ve ever been frustrated by making pastry, this simple tip will solve your pastry woes.

The savoury filling is adapted from a chicken potpie recipe from Rombauer, Becker & Becker’s Joy of Cooking.

Serves 8 depending on the size of containers

pies can be made in advance

Photo by Caroline West

Pastry

  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ lb lard
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 eggs (1 for the dough, 1 for brushing the pastry)
  • ice cold water

Filling

  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 2 ¼ cups chicken stock (plus more if required)
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk
  • ½ cup 35% cream
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 ½ tsp salt (½ tsp if using store-bought stock)
  • 1/2 tsp finely crushed, dried red pepper (or more to taste)
  • 2 cups roasted or poached chicken, diced or shredded into bite-sized pieces
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter for sautéing vegetables
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced ¼” thick
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and diced ¼” thick
  • ⅔ cup frozen peas, thawed
  • salt to taste
  • 3 Tbsp fresh herbs, finely minced: parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, thyme (use one or a combination of herbs)

Special Equipment

Photo by Caroline Wes

  • 8 oven-proof ramekins or one terrine
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic wrap

Pastry

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Cut the lard into 1 – 2” pieces and add it to the flour mixture. Using two knives or a pastry blender, cut the lard into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. The mixture should not be uniform; it’s best to have some larger pieces of flour-coated lard along with the finer particles.

In a 1 cup measure, combine 1 egg with the vinegar and add enough cold water to equal 1 cup. Gradually stir in half of the liquid into the flour. Add only enough water to make the dough cling together.

On a lightly floured sheet of parchment, shape the dough into a disk and gently roll it into a circle approximately 1/2” thick. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before using. Continue to roll out the pastry dough, starting in the centre, to a thickness of approximately1/8”. Cut the pastry into rounds that are about 1/2″ larger than your ramekins. Cut small holes or vents into each circle. Stack the pastry rounds, with a layer of parchment between each, in plastic freezer bags and store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use. Pastry, wrapped in plastic, can be stored in the freezer for 6 – 8 weeks.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Filling

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until the flour and butter mixture is golden in colour (this is called a “roux”).  Add the chicken stock, milk and cream to the roux and whisk until heated through and mixture starts to thicken; this will take several minutes. Continue whisking to ensure there are no lumps. The sauce should be thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. Add the lemon juice, cheese, salt and crushed red pepper. If the mixture is too thick or heavy, add a bit more stock.

Seasoning the sauce is the most important part of the recipe so be patient – taste it frequently and fine-tune it with additions of salt, lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. (If the sauce tastes good before you add the chicken and vegetables, imagine how great it will taste when all of the ingredients come together!)

Vegetables

To ensure each vegetable is properly cooked, it’s best to cook each variety separately. (Carrots, after all, take longer to cook than celery.) Heat one large spoonful of butter in a large saucepan and add the diced shallots with a pinch of salt. Cook the shallots until transparent, adding more butter if necessary. When the shallots are cooked, place them in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl to drain any excess butter. Repeat the process with the celery and carrots, seasoning each variety lightly with salt and taking care not to overcook them. The frozen peas do not need to be cooked.

Chicken Pot Pie 4

Photo by Caroline West

Add the cooked vegetables, peas, diced chicken and freshly minced herbs to the sauce. Taste the mixture and season, if necessary, with additional salt, lemon juice and pepper.

Assembling the pot pies

Remove the pre-cut pastry from the fridge or freezer (if frozen, thaw before using). Place your ramekins on a baking sheet and fill each one with the creamed chicken and vegetable mixture. Brush the rims of the ramekins with the beaten egg. Place the pastry rounds on top of the ramekin and press the edges down with your fingers, crimping the pastry as you do so. Cut vents into the pastry, if you have not already done so. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining egg.

Bake the pies until the chicken mixture is bubbly and the pastry is browned, approximately 25 – 30 minutes.

Note: If you freeze unbaked pies, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator before baking them.