We’re often missing ideas for a good Sunday or Christmas vegan main dish. I try to come up with something new most years, in order to have a little bit of variety and some options to choose from. This Vegan Mince and Chestnut Pie I came up with about 3 years ago but had yet to write it up as a recipe for my website. It has been available for quite a while as a class on my membership site Richard Church’s Vegan Cook School (see video trailer below), but I wanted to finally make the recipe available to everyone, especially as we reach the time where we are going to start to think about Christmas main courses.
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This is a very hearty pie that is perfect for a large gathering and will certainly be a crowd-pleaser if you place it at the centre of the table. The pie filling consists of vegan mince, mushrooms, apricots and chestnuts, which gives it a very Christmas feel. Using the right mince, the filling can be entirely gluten-free, so all you would have to do is change to gluten-free pastry and gluten-free bread in the filling to make this pie perfectly suitable for everyone.
The pie does take a little while to make (you chill the pastry for 90 minutes before rolling out), but the end result is certainly worth it. You may even have plenty of leftovers which, if you use fresh mince, you can freeze. If you’re planning it for Christmas, give it a practice run one Sunday beforehand. You can also check out the video lesson on my membership site to learn how to make it from start to finish.
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Vegan Mince and Chestnut Pie
Easy to make gluten-free
For the Pastry:
- 500 g strong white bread flour
- 75 g gram chickpea flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 120 g vegan butter cubed
- 120 g coconut oil chilled to solid and roughly chopped
- 150 ml cold water
For the Filling:
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300 g chestnut mushrooms or other variety, sliced
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 pack 180g whole pre-cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 x400g pack fresh vegan mince Meatless Farm is gluten-free
- 50 g chopped dried apricots
- 2 heaped tbsp redcurrant jelly
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 3 tbsp dark soy sauce use tamari for gluten-free
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 5 slices bread blended into breadcrumbs (about 200g). Use gluten-free bread, if required
You will also need:
- Vegan butter for greasing
- Vegan milk for brushing
- To make the pastry, put the two flours, the salt and the baking powder into a large mixing bowl and combine. Add the vegan butter and the coconut oil, then rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (takes about 5-8 minutes). Add the water, then stir with a table knife to combine. Once you’ve done this, bring the mix together with your hands to form a dough, you can add a touch more water if the mixture is feeling too dry. Knead it for about 30 seconds to get a smooth dough (don’t overwork it), then cover and keep in the fridge for about 90 minutes to firm up ready for rolling.
- To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or wok. Fry the mushrooms and onions, on a medium-high heat, for about 6 minutes or so, until they have cooked down a little. Add the chestnuts and cook for another couple of minutes. Use a microplane to grate in the 2 cloves of garlic and cook for another minute or two. Set aside to cool.
- Put the vegan mince into a large mixing bowl and add the dried apricots. Now add the rest of the filling ingredients and put in the cooled chestnut and mushroom mix. Mix in thoroughly with your hands, until it is fully combined. You will end up with a firm filling that you can shape.
- Grease a large pie dish with a little vegan butter and preheat the oven to gas 5/190C/375F.
- Take two thirds of the pastry and roll it out onto a floured surface, so that it covers the area of your pie dish, including the sides. Place the pastry in the dish and press against the sides. Trim the excess with a sharp knife and add the leftover pastry to the remaining third. Press the sides again the raise the pastry just a little above the rim of the dish, to allow for any shrinkage. Cut a couple of slits in the bottom of the pastry.
- Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and then fill with dried rice or baking beans. Place the dish in the bottom middle of the oven and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the rice and paper and then cook for about another 5 minutes to firm up the bottom.
- Allow the pastry to cool and then put in the filling, pressing down to make it even and fill any gaps.
- Roll out the rest of the pastry on a floured surface, to just beyond the surface of your dish. Place over the top of the pie and trim the excess. Cut a couple of slits in the top of the lid and then press down around the edge of the pie lid with the tines of a fork.
- Turn the oven down to gas 4/180C/350F.
- Brush the top with vegan milk and place the dish onto a baking tray. Cook in the bottom of the oven for about 90 minutes, until the filling is cooked and the pie is firm and browned on top. Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so before serving.
This recipe is available as a complete video class on my membership site Richard Church’s Vegan Cook School
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