An hour to cook - Stuffed Pie and Lasagna

There are times when I miss cooking, really! And then very rarely, times when I come home after work by 630! When the two happen together, non Sunday cooking happens and it is usually reasonably simple cooking - not the one where you just mix and match a few ingredients, but one that actually involves some cooking! So here is what came out last Monday!

I have been eying this pie for quite sometime. It looked very simple and as you will find out later, it is very simple. All you need is some filling to stuff in it and it will make a really nice dish out of itself. So here is how you make the Stuffed pie and Lasagna. You will need a muffin/cup cake pan for the pies and a baking dish for the lasagna. There was no meat at home, so whatever described here is vegetarian, but you can add any cooked meat of your choice and it will taste the way you want it to taste.

Put some broccoli, bell peppers and corn in the rice cooker, add a pinch of salt, water and boil it. I used the rice cooker, but you can boil it however you want! You can use steamed vegetables to retain all of the nutrients, but that day, I did not care too much! For about 6 pies, you will need about 400 grams of broccoli, 2 bell peppers and enough corn for your liking.

While the vegetables boil away, take flour and butter! As always, the proportion matters and in this case, for 250g of flour, use 200 grams of butter and mix them till they become small clusters. Add in about 150 ml of fresh cream, you can add less or more depending on how much you need, and make it into a chapati dough consistency. Wrap it in cling paper and put it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 20 minutes.

Now let's get into the dressing for the filling. In the proportion of 1:1.5 of Vinegar : Oil, I used raspberry vinegar and walnut oil, mix them, add a bunch of spices, I used the pre mixed Italian spices consisting of oregano, thyme, rosemary and pepper, which is my favourite combination, but you can spice it up the way you want. Mix them well and add fresh cream to this mix, slowly, till it reaches the consistency of something like a cheese sauce!

It's time to preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. While it preheats, you  can start getting your stuff ready to put into the oven. Start with the pie - remember the chapati mix you stashed away in your refrigerator, take it out and roll it. Depending on the size of your muffin pan, cut out circles of this pie mix! For each pie, you will need two circles - one for the base and one to cover it. The base circle must be bigger as it will have to fit into the muffin tray's base and sides as shown in the picture. Butter the muffin tray, put the pie base into it, take half of the boiled vegetables, mix them with the the dressing you made and stuff them into the pie base. Take the smaller circle and cover the top, pinching the edges to make sure they are closed. Put them into the oven and bake them for 20 minutes!

While the pies are baking, you start layering your lasagna. You can use lasagna sheets, just dip them in water till they are soft and you can then cut them into the shape of your baking dish, or you can use thin potato slices - I have found them to be equally good if not better! Make sure that the first layer is the dressing you made. Spread it thinly, then add either the lasagna sheet or a layer of potatoes, make sure that overlapping of either of them is very minimal, add the vegetable mix (with or without the meat of choice, just make sure that the meat is cooked well) and then add a layer of cheese. Repeat the order till you have three layers, so the last layer will have cheese on top.  You can use cheese slices or grated cheese - cheddar is easy to use, but for the last layer, grated parmesan will be ideal, but don't fret if you don't have it, regular cheddar is good enough.

The pies must have been out of the oven right now and with the oven still hot, put the baking dish with your layers and bake for 45 minutes or till the cheese on top is nice and brown.

If all went well, you should have your lasagna and your pie, your way.

Remember that this blog is not about recipes but about cooking. It is about trying to get you to cook using your brains! Ideas are presented here, basic recipes, but to be a good cook, you must experiment with flavours. So once you get the hang of the pie, try it with different fillings and wow your family or friends or boyfriend/girlfriend or all of them!!! Go cook!

And hey, if you enjoyed reading this, please share!