Just a few more days to Christmas and all is calm on the preparation front. We’re opting once again for a quieter relaxed holiday. It’ll be a small gathering with friends in Surrey on Christmas day. Two weeks ago we pre-ordered a bûche de noel that we’ll pick up on Christmas Eve on our way back from snowshoeing on the North Shore.
We’ll do a little dinner at home on Boxing Day, my sister is making oven-baked veggie-filled jollof, because it just won’t feel like Christmas without a big pot of jollof. And my contribution to dinner will be a savoury lentil pie; I’m pretty confident it’ll go nicely with the rice dish.
Ever since we saved our fancy Puy lentils for Christmas, it’s become tradition to have lentils around the holidays, let’s hope it bring us joy or some such blessing like black-eyed peas are supposed to. The challenge is incorporating lentils into our dinner, and this year we’ll bake it into a pie.
The crust, flaky and savoury and made with coconut oil and white whole-wheat flour (spelt flour works excellently too), is speckled with savoury hints of turmeric, garlic and cumin. The concept for the filling came from our summers of making salsa. Sometimes we add lentils to salsa, which is incredibly delicious with chips. Also delicious… lentil tacos. With that in mind, I figured lentils, a light tomato and onion base in some dough won’t steer us wrong.
When the lentil, tomatoes and onions and spices meld together, it cooks into a tender and deeply savoury rich pie. Each bite is toothsome with a little crunch. A few things I like about this pie – the crust and the filling can be prepared in advance and baked just when you’re ready. It’s rich and filling and makes a meal on its own, but we’ll probably have ours with a side of warm fragrant tomatoey rice and lots of vegetables.
- 1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup (4oz) coconut oil, chilled and cut into pieces
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 – 3 tablespoons chilled water
- 2 1/2 cups cooked French Green or Spanish Brown lentils (Puy or Pardina)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes, or as desired
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, sea salt and coconut oil
- Pulse until well incorporated and mixture looks like coarse meal
- Add apple cider vinegar while machine is running, then add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough forms
- Alternatively, you can mix ingredients by hand – once dough has a crumbly texture, add apple cider vinegar and water a spoonful at a time kneading until dough forms
- Flatten dough into a round disc, wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for as long as 24 hours, until you’re ready to use
- To make filling, combine lentils, olive oil, onion, garlic and tomatoes in a large bowl
- Stir in pepper flakes, parsley, cumin, coriander and salt
- Mix well to combine, check seasoning and adjust if needed, set filling aside
- To assemble pie, roll dough to about 10 – 12 inches in diameter – large enough to cover a medium (8 – 9-inch pan) pie pan with a bit of an overhang
- Transfer dough gently and use it to line a medium (8 – 9-inch) pie pan
- Pour lentil filling into pie shell and spread evenly
- Trim off the excess dough, and flute or crimp edges with your hand or fork to make a pretty pattern
- If you have left over dough, roll it out in even thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and use for your top crust
- Bake pie in oven preheated to 350 degrees F. for 50 – 60 minutes, or until pie is cooked through and crust is golden brown