So today, I was wondering what to cook for dinner - HAD to be something with tuna because all the meat I have in the freezer has been designated for meals for the rest of the week.
Didn't want to do a boring tuna mornay or any of the usual boring tuna things, so a little light turned on in my head. I was thinking..tuna..sauteed mixed vegetables...cheese...creamy white sauce - all encased in a golden pastry..mmmmm, this might actually work! A creamy tuna and vegetable pie.
Firstly, I knocked together a quick shortcrust pastry (all the recipes to follow) then as it was chilling in the fridge, I got to work with chopping the vegetables, sauteing them and allowing to cool, whilst I prepared the white sauce.
It all came together pretty quickly, though I spent a bit of time waiting for the filling to cool before adding it to the lined pastry pie dish - if the filling is hot, well the butter rich pastry is just going to melt and fall apart, don't want that - so to avoid a disaster, LET IT COOL!
You also need to 'blind' bake the pie crust before adding any filling as this stops the dough from being soggy!
It is a WONDERFUL pie for kids. The vegetables are all hidden by the creamy sauce. I must say my son who is 3.5, absolutely loved it - and I am thrilled he enjoyed it, gives me great satisfaction knowing that I made something he ravaged!
I must make mention, as I am a 'bit o' this, bit o' that' cook' - I will, like always, try to give as accurate measurements as possible!
So, without further ado...lets make a start on this recipe!!!
Sam's Shortcrust Pastry :
- 2 C Plain Flour
- 150g butter ( I used canola margarine) - must be very cold, straight from the fridge
- 1 tsp salt
- 6-8 Tb chilled water
- In a bowl, add your flour. salt and butter (canola margarine) and rub it with your fingertips, until it resembles crumbs.
- Cautiously, add chilled water, tablespoon by tablespoon, and using a blunt knife, mix it together using a cutting motion, until it comes together - then get your hands in there and gently knead it to get it all together in a ball.
- Pretty easy stuff - then put it in a little plastic bag and chill in the fridge 30 minutes.
- 1/2 zucchini, grated or finely diced
- 1/2 brown onion
- 2 medium celery stalks, finely diced
- 1/2 C frozen mixed vegetables (corn kernels, carrot, peas, corn) the one I buy also has cauliflower and broccoli core in it - this is good for 'bulking up' the filling.
- Heat a pan on medium heat, when it is hot - add a drizzle of good olive oil,then add the grated zucchini, onion and celery and saute these for around 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add the cup of frozen vegetables, stir for another 3-4 minutes until done.
- Turn off heat and move pot to the back of the stove.
- 50g butter (I used canola margarine)
- 50g Plain flour
- 2 -3/4 C milk
- 1 Massel Chicken Cube http://www.massel.com.au/products/salt_reduced_cubes.shtml these are what I have been using for years, they're great and far superior to cheapie stock/bouillon cubes plus, they're suitable for vegetarians, yes! CHICKEN FLAVOUR made from vegetables!
- pinch of sea salt and grind of pepper
- 425g can of tuna (in brine)
- 1/2 C grated tasty cheese
- Place butter in a pan and melt on medium heat, when bubbling, dump in your plain flour and half the milk, and begin whisking immediately, this will ensure you have a lump free sauce.
- Drop in the Massel cube, salt and pepper, keep whisking, until you see the sauce start to thicken.
- Add the rest of the milk, continuing to whisk and as it thickens again, add the 1/2 a cup of grated tasty cheese, whisking until it melts.
- Drain can of tuna and add to the sauce.
- Turn heat off and now add the sauteed vegetables to the white sauce.
- Allow the sauce and vegetable mix to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 180c.
- Remove pastry from fridge, flour work surface and pull approximately half the pastry off the lump and gently knead a little.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out in a rough circle shape and to about 6-7mm thickness.
- Brush some olive oil in your pie dish, and lay the pastry into the dish, using the overhang to help you adjust the pastry to 'sit right'.
- Lift dish up and use a sharp knife to cut off the excess pastry. (Put excess pastry aside - you will have enough filling and pastry to make another pie, one for dinner and one to freeze!)
- Rip a piece of baking paper and lay this on the pastry and then proceed to fill and weigh the paper/dough down with either rice or beans - this allow the pastry to cook through without bubbling or rising.
- Put it in the oven for 20 minutes, keeping an eye on it, it should be taken out just before it reaches the 'golden brown' stage.
- OK, begin to fill the pie crust with the cooled vegetable/sauce filling. Fill it to the top.
- With another piece of pastry, flour your work surface, and using your floured rolling pin - roll out the "lid" of the pie to about 6-7mm.
- Break an egg into a little bowl and gently whisk, using a pastry brush, paint the egg wash around the rim of the pie crust, so it 'adheres' the crust and the 'lid' together.
- Lay the pastry over the filled pie crust, take a fork and and press the edges down and this is purely optional : with some of the excess dough, cut out a shape and lay it on top of the pie.
- Brush the top of the pie with some of the remaining egg wash.
- Place in the oven and cook for approximately 30 minutes, keeping an eye on it and taking it out when it is a rich golden brown colour.
I served mine with a side of garlic and chive mashed potatoes and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, onion and basil, drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper *just to 'freshen' the palate*.