5 November 2011

Onion and Courgette not-so-pie-like Pie

Well I'm posting on Saturday this week instead of Friday. Mostly because I've been battling a silly Autumn-cold for a while now and yesterday I just felt totally rubbish! I woke up with the worst headache in the world, which is never a good start to the day, spent the morning coughing up my lungs, and then decided I couldn't stand it any more and drugged myself up with all the flu-related medication I had at hand. This consequently sent me into a zombie-like state of something between consciousness and an acid trip. And I was still in a bad mood. So truly, had I chosen yesterday to tell you about my kitchen adventures, all you would have got was an incoherent stream of negativity (more so than usual). 

But today I am feeling much better! So here is my "pie":


So this is the Bajan version of pie that is explained here. So no pastry in this one. But looks good, eh? That is bubbling, crispy, delicious cheese on the top there. Mmm!

Actually, this really didn't come out how I wanted it to, but it was tasty anyway. Here is a semblance of a recipe.

One courgette, grated
One and a half large onions, roughly chopped
A big knob of butter
Equal amount of flour
Milk
Lots of grated cheese
An egg
Salt
Pepper
Garlic powder/salt
Cayenne

The first thing to do is grate the courgette. I use the medium size holes on the box grater but its really up to you what size you want it to be. Once it is grated, put it into a colander and cover it generously with salt. Let that sit for about half an hour and then press out any extra water you can by pressing down on it with a kitchen towel. This is to help draw out the water. Courgette will spring a lot of liquid in the oven and that would make the pie really runny, which is not a good thing. 

Then chop up your onions. Again, size isn't important. Cook these on a low heat with a bit of butter just until they are soft and white. You don't want them caramelised, and remember they will cook more in the oven. 

Now you have to make a roux. This is actually a lot easier than it is often made out to be. Melt a big knob of butter on the hob at medium heat. Then add an equal volume of flour to butter. Stir this in until the flour is dissolved in the butter and you've got a paste. Then turn the heat to low and add some milk. Stir continuously making sure that the paste is combined completely with the milk. When it starts to bubble, turn the heat off. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This can take a while but I promise it will thicken so just be patient. At this point add a bit of black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. You can add a bit more salt but be stingy because remember the courgette is already doused in it.

Beat an egg and add a drop of milk just to make the texture a bit smoother. Make sure the white sauce has cooled a bit, to almost room temperature. If it's too hot it will scramble the egg and that's just gross. Stir in the beaten egg, and half of the cheese. Seriously, put as much cheese as you want. Put a lot if you like cheese, and whole lot if you love cheese. If you don't like cheese at all, see a therapist. 

Then dump in the courgette and onion and give it a mix. Pour the whole mixture into a buttered baking dish and cover with lots more grated cheese. Again, the more the merrier. 

Put this is an oven at about 180C or 350F for around 15 mins or until all the cheese on top is melted. Then put it under the grill/ broiler for 5 more mins to crisp up that topping!

This is how mine came out:


Yeah, doesn't look so appetising, does it? But it was YUM, I promise. Really my problem was that my ratio of sauce to veg was wrong. I needed more veg, less sauce, for it to be a bit sturdier. The egg helps with getting a good texture, too. 

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