I am always on the lookout for easy recipes. I don’t mind cooking, but I am more of an all-in-one-pan type of person than four pots on the fire at the same time. As we are only with the two of us, I generally cook for two nights at once. Minimum.
A really easy dish that covers at least two evenings is de deep dish pie. It is just one step past the meat and potatoes stuff so that is OK for me.
Today, we are going to make a vegetable ham deep dish pie. You can replace the ham with cooked mushrooms and turn it into a great vegetarian bite. Eat it right away or pack it in for a trip in Gatineau Park. Way better than a muesli bar. It also transports easier than my home made pea soup.
There are five stages: pre bake, prepare ingredients, fill the shells, second bake, eat.
What you need
Tenderflake deep dish pie shells (2 in a package). Don’t buy the lesser brands, the crust falls apart easier which is kind of annoying. There is a limit to cheapness. Like skiing, you want to have good equipment (boots on sale now at Bushtukah for under $100)
1.5 cup of milk
1 thick slice of cooked ham, cut in small ¼ inch cubes, but you can easily skip it. Cooked mushrooms would work too (about half a cup of cooked mushrooms per pie)
3 cups of some vegetable (frozen spinach is really easy, thaw the day before to save on microwave energy). You could also choose for leek; make sure there is no dirt inside the stems.
2 cups of grated cheese. I am using the 2 year old Balderson from Costco
Pro tip: add a small onion if you like, but it is not necessary. Chop the onion and cook it first on low heat for 5-8 minutes. Easy to combine with the mushrooms while the pan is hot.
OK, here we go
The deep dish pastry shells come in an aluminum tin dish, but that is not great (overflowing liquids or leaking tins), so we always put the pies (including the aluminum dish) in a bigger pie dish (glass or metal). See photo underneath.
Prebake the shells
Set the oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, use a fork to punch 200 or so holes in the bottom and side of the pastry (from the inside) so that the air underneath the pie can escape while the pastry is being heated. Our oven just fits two dishes on one rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the empty shells for about 8 minutes.
While your shells are baking, 1) cut up the leek or the spinach 2) cut up the ham into cubes 3) crack the eggs into a measuring cup, stir them and add the 1.5 cup of milk. Make sure eggs and milk are not more than 3 cups total.
Pro Tip: if you use the onion, mix it into the vegetables.
Filling da dish
Toss the veggies (and optional onion) into the two deep dishes, spread the optional ham cubes or cooked mushrooms on top of it. Spread the grated cheese on top of the ham/mushroom.
Pour the egg-milk mix slowly and equally into the two dishes.
Put the pie shells back in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The top shouldn’t be wet anymore when you take the pies out. Leave them out of the oven for 5 minutes after baking, so they can set a bit.
This is good fare which you can eat any time of day. Just pop it back in the microwave after you come back from a ski. Or take it with you and heat it up on the woodstove in one of Gatineau Park’s huts, like Shilly-Shally cabin for example. You can also eat it cold.