Smug and lazy vegetable pie

This is a sort of non-recipe, borne out of desperation and urgency. (Tempting intro?)

In fact it was prompted by a fairly brutal mid-week for Jacob (8) who had five teeth pulled out by the dentist (crowding, small jaw, bad genetics, mother’s fault, et cetera); awful for him, and not one of my personal parenting highlights. So I have been on the hunt for some soft, nutritious, comforting foods in the days since – and a potato-topped pie is, of course, exactly that.

Smug because – well – who doesn’t feel a glow of satisfaction placing a homemade pie down on the table for your children?

And lazy because a) you can use just about any ingredients you have to hand – canned salmon, beans, random vegetables, frozen vegetables – most importantly just Whatever Your Toddler Will eat This Week (TM); and b) the filling and sauce are prepared in one pan – a game changer for those of us who feel like some days are an endless cycle of prepare food – eat food – clean up kitchen x 3; and so, seek to minimize kitchen detritus whenever possible.

Previous iteration with kidney beans and a lot of cheese

It tastes delicious too, did I mention that? (Smug!)

Salmon and vegetable pie

Serves 4 hungry children, with enough leftovers for mr tMatM not to feel too left out

Ingredients:

One can of salmon / can of mixed beans

One medium zucchini/ courgette, diced (and peeled if your child is not a fan)

Half head of broccoli

Half can sweetcorn

Handful frozen chopped spinach

Other vegetables as desired!

30g plain / all-purpose flour

30g unsalted butter

350ml milk

Seasoning, herbs, as tolerated under your particular variant of toddler regime

Potatoes, for topping (750g-ish)

Method

Topping:

Bring pan of (un)salted water to the boil.

For a mashed potato topping: Add your peeled, chopped potatoes to the water, cook until soft. Add generous knob of butter, mash, add a splash of milk, mash.

For a sliced potato topping: Add your peeled, sliced potatoes and parboil (5 minutes), drain and reserve.

Filling

Add a splash of oil to a medium heat. Gently soften diced vegetables – courgette, finely chopped broccoli – a few minutes.

Add flour; stir until evenly coated. Cook flour for 1-2minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring to combine and avoid lumps. Bring to almost boil and simmer for 2-3minutes. Add chopped frozen spinach / frozen peas : whatever takes your fancy.

If cheese is enough to convince your children, add 100g grated cheese – to the sauce, to the mash, to both.

Drain canned salmon / beans if using, add to filling.

Layer filling into pie dish. Top with potato. Bake at 220C, 20minutes or until golden and bubbling.

This is not a time for fancy potato work

This is not an elegant pie-with-all-the-trimmings in any sense; but it is a solid mid-week, store-cupboard standby that leaves everyone feeling pretty happy.

Remembering a time when too many teeth were not the problem (and, it seems, my husband wore band tshirts).

We made it to the weekend though, teeth extractions and all. Some huge strides to be made in the trailer – and progress pics to follow. Hope you enjoy the weekend!

tMatM x

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