This is the sort of down to earth, filling food that I imagine my ancestors in Kiev, Ukraine must have eaten hundreds of years ago. If so, they were very lucky peasants...
The pie is so good that, in spite of my resistance to recipes that require numerous steps or a lot of prep time (which generally rules out anything that involves pie crust), I have made it TWICE in the past month.
The combination of the buttery pâte brisée crust, the concentrated sweetness of the roasted beets, the light, flavorful dill, the mellow, hearty sweetness of the sauteed cabbage, onion, and carrot, and the melty, creamy goat cheese leads to a rare kind of gustatory bliss.
You're probably drooling by now (if not, you should be) so I'll cut to the chase and give you the recipe.
I've taken the liberty of augmenting a few things to make the pie a bit bigger than Andrea Chesman's original recipe -- trust me, you're going to want to eat a lot of this... Enjoy!
Winter Vegetable Pie
* 3 Tbsps olive oil
* 3-4 cups thinly sliced cabbage (preferably green or savoy, though I used red and it was really tasty - the pie just ended up looking a bit bloody between the red cabbage and the beets)
* 1 large onion, thinly sliced
* 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
* 1/2 cup fresh dill, washed, removed from stems, and chopped
* 2 roasted beets, thinly sliced (I recommend roasting them as that concentrates their flavors deliciously, though you could also boil or steam)
* 8 oz fresh soft goat cheese
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* Pastry for a 9-inch double-crust pie (see recipe below)
1. Make the pie crust dough (see below for recipe) a day in advance or earlier in the day so that all you'll need to do is roll it out when it's time to put the pie together. Roast the beets, slip the skins off and slice them in advance, too.
2. Once you've got the beets and pie crust ready, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the cabbage and onion and cook until the onion is golden and the cabbage is completely wilted, about 25 minutes. Stir in the shredded carrot and the dill and stir to combine. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roll out the bottom pie crust and place it in a 10-inch pie pan. Then roll out the top crust so that you'll have it handy when you're ready, but leave it to the side (you can put it on a sheet of waxed paper to prevent it from sticking to the counter - that will also make it easy to flip it on top of the pie when the time comes) while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
4. Arrange the beet slices in concentric circles over the crust in the bottom of the pie dish. Crumble half of the goat cheese over the beets. Spoon in the cabbage/onion/carrot mixture and top it with the remaining goat cheese.
5. Fit the top crust over the pie and fold together the overhanging dough. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal and prick several holes in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape during baking. (You can save any extra dough you end up with after trimming and roll it out to make a little free-form apple tart for dessert. Just slice the fruit and mix with some lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon, then mound it in the center of the dough, fold it over the fruit and toss it into the oven to bake for 25-20 minutes alongside the veggie pie.)
6. Bake for 15 minutes, then decrease the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for 30-35 more minutes, until the top is nicely browned. Let stand for at least 10 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature with a fresh green salad.
And now for the pie crust recipe...
Pie Crust (Pâte Brisée)
Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
* 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.
2. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month. But remember to remove the dough 30-45 minutes before you'll need to roll it out or you may find it too stiff to work with.