Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook in exchange for my honest review. All photos and opinions contained in this post are my own. Erika Bault is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
Before I started to learning about or even caring about local, seasonal food, one of my favorite meals was this chicken in leek cream sauce with a side of asparagus. WHAT?! Asparagus and leeks couldn't really be further apart as far as growing seasons go with asparagus being an early spring treat and leeks being a fall and winter crop.
Now I have such a hard time when I'm looking at recipes on Pinterest because I see so many with ingredients that don't come from the same growing season. But with a supermarket mentality, where everything is available year-round, we as consumers don't usually know what season something should actually be bought and consumed. This is why I advocate so strongly for people to start growing at least some of their own produce and visit farmers markets or join CSAs. This is also the biggest reason I am in love with the new cookbook from Ken Haedrich, The Harvest Baker.
In The Harvest Baker you find recipes that keep things seasonal. No asparagus and leek pairings here. And as a gardener, I get excited about new ways to use our produce. Most of the recipes include vegetables or fruits that we already grow or buy locally, so I can feel good about meal planning from this cookbook because I know that it will encourage me to eat more sustainably.
When I was approached by Storey Publishing about this cookbook and trying out the recipes, I was immediately excited about the Carrot and Leek Pie because I knew that we should have both leeks and carrots ready soon. Unfortunately, before I got the recipe made, something destroyed my leeks. I was however able to use two different kinds of carrots and parsley from our garden and our own eggs. I can't tell you how accomplished I feel when I can make a meal with ingredients we have made from scratch or grown.
In this recipe I used the vegetable broth, which is easy to make yourself as well if you don't want to go the store-bought route. And I chose to use the Monterey Jack cheese because our local grocery didn't have Havarti.
This pie, especially if you grew some of the ingredients yourself, will be a stunner at any Thanksgiving potluck this season. It is packed with veggies but has a richness that won't make your fellow diners feel like they're being deprived of that delicious home-cooked goodness we all expect at Thanksgiving.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. AND as a special bonus, I've partnered with Storey Publishing to give one lucky reader the cookbook, The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/3 cup ice-cold water
- 3 thick leeks, white and pale green parts only
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
- 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup grated Havarti cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
- 5 tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dill (or 1 tablespoon of each)
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine 8 to 10 times, until all of the butter is broken into small pieces, none larger than the size of a split pea.
- Add the water through the feed tube in a 5- to 10-second stream, pulsing the machine as you add it. Stop pulsing the machine when the mixture is still fairly crumbly but starting to form larger clumps. Turn the mixture out onto your work surface and shape it into a 3/4- to 1-inch-thick disk. The best way to do this and keep your hands off the dough (the warmth from your hands will make the dough sticky) is to place two long pieces of plastic wrap on your work surface, overlapping them by several inches. Dump the dough mixture in the middle, grasp and scrunch up the edges of the plastic, lift the plastic, and pull the mixture toward the center. When your hands meet in the middle, press down on the dough with your fists, to flatten it out somewhat; then move your hands around the plastic and repeat several times to make a round disk. If this sounds confusing, just remember that all you’re trying to do is form a dough disk without actually touching the dough.
- Wrap up the dough in a fresh sheet of plastic, and refrigerate for 11/2 to 2 hours before rolling.
- On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the dough into a 12- to 12 1/2-inch circle. Invert the pastry over a standard (not deep dish) 9- or 9 1/2-inch pie pan, center it, and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan without stretching it. Sculpt the overhanging dough into an upstanding ridge; flute the edges, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Quarter the leeks lengthwise up to the root end, but don’t cut through the end. Fan out the sections and rinse them under running water to wash out any sand and grit. Slice the leeks thinly. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan. Stir in the leeks. Cook over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted, stirring often. Stir in the carrots and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the stock, and salt and pepper the vegetables with a light hand. Cover the pan and cook the vegetables gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Whisk the eggs and cottage cheese in a large bowl. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the cooled vegetables, Havarti, 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, and parsley. Mix gently but thoroughly.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the remaining bread crumbs over the pie shell. Turn the filling into the shell and smooth with a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs evenly on top and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top has developed a rich golden-brown crust. Transfer to a rack and cool for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Reheat individual slices on a baking sheet or in the pan, loosely covered with foil, in a 300°F (150°C) oven for about 12 minutes.
- Excerpt from The Harvest Baker, ©
- "I love big flavors and bold seasonings, but some of the most successful dishes happen when ingredients get to speak softly for themselves. That is the case with this one, one of the most popular garden pies I make. First we gently sauté the carrots and leeks in butter to help bring out their sweetness. The remaining ingredients mostly serve to bind everything together, not influence the flavor; we want the carrots and leeks to shine. The pie has a moist, compact texture, and each slice has a gorgeous profile, a mosaic of finely textured carrots and leeks. If you use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, this pie will please vegetarians immensely. I’ll usually serve it as the main dish with sautéed greens on the side."