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recipe; ethiopian red lentil pie

In honour of March 14 (3-14, aka Pi(e) Day), New Recipe Night had a pie theme. I wanted to make something savoury with protein in it. Now I think of it, every New Recipe Night dish I've come up with has been lentil based. Next time, no lentils.

Anyway, the idea for this was a pretentious "fusion" of Ethiopian and traditional English food - a meat pie crossed with Ethiopian red lentil stew. Mostly because I bought berbere on my last spice shopping trip, and wanted to use it in something.

2 cups red lentils

1 large onion
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 medium carrots
3 stalks celery
1 medium potato
grated ginger
1 clove chopped garlic

tomato paste
1 large can crushed tomatos (drained)

berbere (I bought this at the spice shop in Kensington market, so you get no recipe for this)
1-3 tsp smoked paprika

vegan niter kibbeh (I faked it with a mix of olive oil and earth balance instead of butter when cooking the spices) [cardamom pods, grated ginger, whole clove, tumeric, cinnamon, grated nutmeg cooked in "butter" for 30 min then strained through a coffee filter]

crisco shortening pie pastry (made according to the recipe on the box, except that I used vegan egg replacer instead of eggs).

soak the lentils overnight in water.

prep your niter kibbeh and pie pastry so the pastry can chill (I didn't know it needed that, so I did this in the wrong order).

put soaked lentils in some water and set to boiling away.

chop all veggies into small bits.

in a big pan, heat some niter kibbeh. sautee the onion, garlic and ginger until soft. Add in the peppers, carrots, celery and potato. Sautee for a while.

Mix in the berbere, 1-2 tsp of smoked paprika, tomato paste and crushed tomatos. I used the entire package of berbere, and the resulting mix was a tad... spicy.

When the lentils are soft, mix them in, too, with some water. Let simmer for a good long while; you want the lentils to start to get mushy, and the liquid to thicken. Once the veggies are all cooked through and the stew is thick from lentil/potato starch, turn off the heat.

Roll out our pastry, and spread out a layer in a pie pan. Ideally, I think this would have been better in a meat pie 2-3" diameter pan, so each person gets one pie, but I don't have those, so I made two big pies instead. Spoon in the lentil stew, and add a top layer of pastry. Cut a vent in the pie. I tired to do that int he shape of the greek letter pi, but it sort of fell apart on me.

The pastry recipe calls for a glaze of egg, which I skipped to keep it vegan. Instead, I brushed on more niter kibbeh. As a result, the pie didn't brown on top, but it was a nice bright yellow. I'll have to experiment more to get properly browned vegan pastry.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 31st, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
And while I wait for things to compile (and test themselves)...

Mar. 31st, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Is soaking the lentils really necessary? I find they cook to paste in about half an hour....
Mar. 31st, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
Well, I was running low on red lentils, and supplemented with some moong daal, which I've found cook much slower. Still, you can probably get away without the soaking.

What would have been really ideal, actually, would have been to sautee the veggies in niter kibbeh, then transfer them with the tomato stuff and the lentils and potato to a crockpot to simmer for a couple hours to get a good solid paste consistency going.
Mar. 31st, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Completely off topic, but I just ran across this very cool steampunk-inspiring book:

Apr. 1st, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Apr. 1st, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
Is that what you gave me yesterday? I ate it for lunch at work today, it was awesome!
Apr. 1st, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Yup, that is the stuff. Except, you know, in pie. I'm glad you liked it!

I've still got half a pie, four tarts and another container the size of the one I gave you. I'd best get eatin'!

I need to remember that I can feed you my spicy experiments...
Apr. 1st, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
I clicked through after reading sabotabby's post and thinking... "what?" I salute you and will probably try this with the several kilos of berbere presently stockpiled in our kitchen.

Is the ginger something you'd seen used in Ethiopian food before, or your own addition?
Apr. 1st, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome.
I'd done some googling for recipes, and the ginger showed up there, both in the recipe for the lentil stew and the niter kibbeh. Also, I like ginger. :)

This was my first attempt at making Ethiopian food. I'm fairly happy with how it turned out - it *didn't* taste like Indian food, which has been a problem for me with spiced lentil dishes in the past. Next time I'll try making my own berbere, I think.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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