A Pastry Full of Vegetables
I had this odd assortment of vegetables that I just knew would make a delicious lunch for us once I figured out a way to put it all together. I thought for a while and decided a pastry crust could contain these veggies and they could be topped with a tasty brown crumbly topping. I was really on to something!
This variety of veggies had potential to blend well, with savory mushrooms and onions, the acidity of the tomatoes, and the zucchini which would absorb any flavor …and be a fourth vegetable so I could say, “Ha, I ate four vegetables for lunch!”
First, I choped up all the vegetables in nice bite size bits and put them in a skillet with olive oil and some of my favorite herbs and spices. I chose garlic powder, parsley, cayenne pepper, black pepper and of course salt. I let them saute a bit and while I did, I began making a pastry crust sort of like pie crust but I added a little something special to give is a bit more savory flavor.
I saved the stock from a chicken I roasted a few days ago that tasted so good. The flavor was still swimming around in this stock and was cold to boot, so I added it instead of water to the dough. Turns out, this was a great idea. The dough quickly came together using a cup and a half of flour, 3/4 cup shortening cut into the flour, a couple pinches of salt and about 1/3 cup or so of the chilled and gelled stock.
I set that aside and continued cooking down the veggies. I tweaked the seasonings to make sure they balanced well. A splash or two of soy sauce helped brighten up the zucchini. Between the tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, and zucchini there was a lot of moisture to cook away and that took about 15 minutes on a medium heat with an occasional stir. I added a bit of the chicken stock and let the sauce simmer down again.
Once the juices were reduced and a bit thicker, I dumped this out onto my pastry which was now waiting on my baking stone. The mixture was a bit runny but I quickly folded the edges over to make a large vegetable galette . To finish it off, I mixed equal parts of Parmesan cheese and Italian bread crumbs in a small bowl, then added a splash of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled this on top of the whole thing.
I baked this at 400° for about thirty minutes and WOW! The smells that filled the kitchen were fantastic! The crust, I could tell was going to be so flaky and tender…and it was. The veggies and seasonings, after cooking all together for so long, really blended well and the crust couldn’t have turned out better.
I just love it that I didn’t know what I was going to cook and suddenly something really wonderful was coming out of the oven. The biggest joy of all though came from my husband when he said, “I hate mushrooms, yet I keep eating this.”