Savory Potato Squash Pie
This beautiful golden casserole with a tender bottom crust makes a thoughtful Thanksgiving offering for vegetarian friends and relations, as well as a tasty addition to the feast, or a great comfort-food meal anytime. It is a hearty recipe filled with healthful garlic and onions along with corn, cheese, and your choice of pumpkin or butternut squash, reminiscent of the savory supper pies of England and France.
Just add a tossed salad and you have yourself the perfect autumn meal. One taste and you can imagine sitting beside a crackling fire in a cozy country inn. The winds may be blustery outside, but the pie is so savory and warm. Raise a pint of ale to the pleasures of the autumn harvest, and enjoy!
1 3-pound pumpkin or 1 2-pound butternut squash
2 large russet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/3 cups corn kernels
1 3/4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Split pumpkin or squash in half and remove seeds and stringy stuff. Place halves face-down on a baking sheet. Place potatoes on sheet, too—if they won’t fit, use a second baking sheet. Bake vegetables for 1 hour, remove from oven, and allow to cool.
2. Place flour and salt in a food processor and add butter. Pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and knead with your hands, adding water or flour as necessary, until the dough is soft, moist, and smooth. Handle the dough as little as possible, to prevent toughening. Form the dough into a flattened ball, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375F. Roll out chilled dough and line a 12-inch deep dish pie pan. Piece the dough a few times and then line the sides of the pan with aluminum foil, wrapping and crimping the foil over the edges of the pan to hold the dough in place. Bake 15 minutes and then remove pan from oven and reduce heat to 350F.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet and add onions, cooking about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic and cook another 3 or 4 minutes, stirring often, than add corn and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove skillet from heat.
5. Spoon out the cooked pumpkin or squash flesh into a large bowl. Cut potato into 1/2-inch cubes and add to bowl. Add corn-onion mixture, grated cheese, thyme, allspice. salt, and pepper and spoon mixture into the baked pie crust. (You may refrigerate the pie for up to 24 hours at this point).
6. Bake the pie at 350F for 30 minutes, or until piping hot. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.
Inspired by Vegetarian Planet, by Didi Emmons (Harvard Common Press, 1997).