Spring allegedly has sprung. However, if you're having trouble getting into the springtime vibe, then you might still be in need of some serious comfort food in the (still pretty gloomy) evenings? This recipe allows you to make great use of any odds and sods you have lurking around in your fridge! Use those vegetables before they rot for heaven's sake! Again, you can customise this recipe as you please. Throw in any veg you wish! for vegetarian options, simply replace the sausage and haggis for veggie options. Yippee!
Scout around your fridge, your freezer and your kitchen cupboards and gather up ingredients that take your fancy. I gathered 3 carrots, 1 1/2 onions, 2 leeks, some frozen peas, some frozen sweetcorn, some skinless sausages (Lawsons are my favourite!), a good quality haggis, a couple of parsnips and a sweet potato. I also had in stock some Oxo cubes, black pepper and garlic puree. You'll also need ingredients to make shortcut pastry or, if like me you're a bit lazy, have a shortcrust pastry mix at hand!
Peel, rinse and chop all your fresh veg.
Pop your onions and leeks in a big pan with some olive oil and fry for a little while until they've soften up. Add your carrots and allow them to soften slightly too. Add the rest of your fresh veg and let all the vegetables settle into one another for a few minutes.
Boil a kettle and add enough water to cover your veg nicely. Add some black pepper (I like A LOT of balck pepper) and a clove of crushed garlic or a little smidgeon of garlic puree to the mix. Turn up the heat and boil the fresh veg for around 10-15 minutes (or until just about cooked).
Add your frozen veg to the bubbling pot and pop your skinless sausages in too. Allow your stew to return to the boil after the shock of the frozen veg! Cook for 10 minutes.
Pop your haggis into a microwave safe bowl and cook as per the microwave instructions!
Add an Oxo cube to the stew mixture, pop the lid on the pot, turn the heat down a little to allow your stew to bubble gently while your haggis cooks
When cooked, break up your haggis/veggie haggis (I actually prefer veggie haggis but I didn't have any at hand at the time of cooking) into the stew mixture. You'll find that as soon as the haggis goes in there that the mixture thickens up a lot. This is a good sign :o) Allow the spicy flavours of the haggis to settle into the stew. Allow your stew to cook for a further 10 minutes - gently. The haggis inclines to stick a little so be sure to keep stirring your mixture.
While your stew finishes cooking, prepare you pastry. The pre-made shotcrust pasrty mix I had was excellent. Just add 7/8 tablespoons of water to the mixture to create a firm dough then roll the pastry out (on a lightly floured surface) enough to cover the base and sides of my pie tin. Grease your pie tin and then line the tin with the pastry.
Your stew ought to be cooked now. If not, keep cooking gently and stirring your mixture round to avoid sticky haggis mess! If you feel your stew is still a little too watery add some cornflour to thicken it up. Once you're happy that your stew is ready, turn off the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
Spoon your stew into the pastry base. Don't over fill your tin with filling or it'll just spurt out in the oven! Fill your pasty case 3/4 of the way up the tin to be safe.
Roll out a layer of pastry big enough to cover the top of your pie. Seal up the sides with your fingers and lightly glaze (I used a light glazing of milk). Pop a tiny hole in the top of your pie.
Pop the pie tin into the oven at 180/190 degrees for around 25 minutes or until you can see that the top is a lovely golden brown colour and the sides of your pastry case are nice n crispy.
When your pie is ready, remove from the oven and slice into pieces. When I sliced mine my filling escaped but it actually made for a brilliant pastry/filling/pastry type affair on the plate!
If you are in SERIOUS need of a comfort dinner, then serve with mashed potatoes and maybe some broccoli? I served my pie with enormous curly cabbage leaves and a handful of boiled baby potatoes and a big glass of milk! :o)"