Photos and story by Julie Van Rosendaal
Harvest season is pie season, with so much produce at its peak at the same time, affordable and abundant, begging to be piled into pastry. And while fall brings to mind mile-high apple and spiced pumpkin pies, it’s also the perfect time for savoury pies — interesting combinations of meat and veg you can wrap in pastry and bring straight from the oven to the table for a single-dish dinner.
When considering savoury pies, chicken pot and shepherd’s may come to mind, but potential filling combinations are as limitless as they are for the dessert variety. Generally speaking, savoury pies have fillings that are pre-cooked before being turned into their pastry-lined plates, which makes them simple to pull off — there’s little concern over cooking time or serviceability. If you don’t want to slice yours at all, a pot pie requires only a lid; spoon any stew-like mixture into a baking dish, top with regular or puff pastry, cut a few steam holes and bake until bubbly and golden, then serve with a spoon. Yes, it still counts as pie.
Another shortcut that doesn’t produce a lesser pie: galette-style free-form pies you can bake on a sheet (or in a pie plate, if you want more support around the sides). They can be assembled using traditional or thawed puff pastry, require no trimming or crimping, and though tomatoes are wonderful, can be made using virtually any vegetable you like, along with herbs and cheeses and perhaps a smear of pesto or olive tapenade before you pile it all on.
Roasted Squash and Greens Pie
- 1 medium butternut or other winter squash peeled and cubed (4-5 cups)
- olive oil or canola oil, for cooking
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2-3 green onions or 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 bunch chard, kale or spinach (or a combination)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 4-6 phyllo sheets
- 1/3 cup melted butter or olive oil
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 4 oz crumbled soft goat cheese like Dancing Goats Farm
- chili oil, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
- Spread the cubed squash out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss around with your hands to coat the cubes well. Season with salt and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and turning golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚F.
- Set a large skillet over medium-high heat (it could be the skillet you plan to bake the pie in), add a drizzle of oil and cook the onion for a few minutes, until soft. Roughly chop the greens, discarding any tough stems, and add to the pan with the garlic and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for a few minutes, until wilted, then transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
- Unroll the thawed phyllo and remove a sheet, covering the rest as it waits. Lightly brush the sheet with melted butter or oil (you don’t need to coat it completely) and top with another sheet. Repeat, brushing with butter or oil between each sheet, then transfer the stack to a large (9-10-inch) oven proof skillet, pie plate or baking dish, letting the excess hang over the sides.
- Spread the roasted squash into the bottom. Pour the beaten egg over the wilted greens and stir to combine them, then spread over the squash. Crumble the goat cheese (or drop it in pieces) over top. Pull the pastry up over the sides to partially enclose the filling, scrunching it up a bit if you like.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Drizzle with chili oil, if you like, before serving, or at the table.