Hearty Winter Curry Pie

Some days I just love a good curry.  They are usually days when I could use a little comfort.  The soothing flavors of coconut, cream, curry spice, and ginger just make me want to fill up, then sit back with a nice cup of tea, warm slippers, and a good book.

For all intensive purposes, curry should not spark this reaction.  First off, I can hardly call this a comfort food when we were only introduced in the last couple of years!  Comfort foods require fond childhood memories, I should think.  But perhaps I am wrong and they only need warm memories of moments past.  Which this dish certainly has.

I tried a similar curry pie at an Irish pub a few months back that invoked fond memories of my months in the Eire–summer months that were cool enough to invoke a heavily-spiced dish such as curry.  Add to that the fact that I was eating at that particular pub on the cool Oregon coast–when you are as likely to chance an outstandingly lovely day in February as you are in July.

For months I’ve been meaning to recreate the curry pie I had there and seemingly never could get around to it.  With all this cool, gray, rainy weather we’ve finally been getting in the Pacific Northwest lately, the time has come for a comforting dish that warms the inside with good spices and winter veg, and brings fond memories of both a lovely summer in Ireland, and warm beaches on the coast!

Hearty Winter Curry Pie, serves 2-3
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 large brown mushrooms, chopped
1 cup cooked kidney beans
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup light coconut milk
2 tbs. heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
2 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
small handful raisins
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and brown for a couple of minutes.
  • Add carrots, parsnips, bell pepper, celery, and mushrooms.  Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and carrots begin to soften.  Stir in beans and frozen peas.
  • Add coconut milk, cream, lemon juice and spices.  Modify spices to taste by adding more ginger or cayenne, if necessary.  Stir in raisins and cook for 2 minutes more, until they begin to plump.
  • Spoon mixture into a small 2-quart casserole and lay puff pastry over the top.  Cut pastry and crimp to fit pan.  Dash steam vents in top of pastry.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 25-30 minutes and enjoy!
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Adventures in the Cherry Tree

It all began in Corvallis with our cherry tree. It’s the one that drips it’s cherry-laden limbs onto the sidewalk and begs passers-by to guiltily grab a few before they hurry on, hoping no one is looking.

Their inconspicuousness is touching given the evidence left behind.  Cherry pits. Not that I would care if they show up with their ladders and pick a bucket or ten.  Our tree is laden.

My first task as a college graduate is to pick cherries.  On a Sunday in a dress, with a very short ladder.  All the best cherries are of course higher than I can reach.  Unless I stand on the very top rung on tiptoes, carefully balancing myself so I can squirm higher to reach and not come toppling off the ladder.  Doing so would successfully entertain the neighbors.  Despite this, I for once maintain some dignity and forego the tree toppling episode.

At home in Hermiston, my father is also picking cherries.  His are being picked out of his fervent desire for a cherry pie.  The birds have other plans however, and unless the tree is picked now, there will be none left to satisfy a certain sweet tooth.  So they are picked slightly green because it is either him or the birds, and no one comes between Walter and pie.

first pics 114

A week and a half later, the pie has still not been made.  The Corvallis cherries are nearly eaten, and dad is starting to hint more frequently.  I leave him a note on Father’s Day that he will indeed be receiving a pie shortly.

The notion of pitting all these lovely beasts takes a bit of working up to.  The cherry pitter you see, has been well used over the years and is on the verge of rusting over.  What with this and the fact that most of the remaining cherries are the not-quite-ripe-but-saved-from-the-birds variety, well you see my lack of enthusiasm.

Finally the day arrives when the crust has been mixed and chilled and there is nothing left to do but pit the cherries.  So I press on, and really it’s not so bad.  As the pie crisps in the oven and lovely smells start to fill the farmhouse, dad walks in the door after a long day of work. He knows exactly what this particular smell is.

It’s his cherry pie at last.

Recipes here and here.

For those that have had trouble with crusts, I will let you in on a little secret: Martha Stewart.  I make sure the ingredients are quite cold, use a mixer or food processor, and real butter.  I have never had a bad crust.  I swear :)