I love my pies, and specially now when the weather is turning cold and wet it is nice to have something hearty, comforting and mushy for dinner. But to not have to get in to that food coma feeling over stuffed after eating it I started thinking about how it would be possible to have a pie with all the scrummy filling, and a crust like topping without actually having a crust. Immediatly I came to think of the squash. What if that was cut in slices and laid over the filling, wouldn’t that kind of be like a crust? It was actually, and the result was even better then I had hoped for. It does not really resemble a pie, in the sence that there is no bottom or sides with “dough”. Someone who is feeling crafty could probably lay out squash slices in the bottom or on the sides as well, but for me on a lazy sathurday afternoon the lid was enough. Of course it doenst taste or feel exactly the same as a pie with a dough brust, it is different but equally delicious. I toped my pie with some cheese, and when that melted it got that crunchy top that gave the dish some real pie feeling. The squash was soft and rich and had that earty flavour that is so nice in the autumm, and when served the creamy filling was floating out under it spreading some lovely aromas.
For the filling I chose the classic chicken and mushroom, but switched the chickens for chickpeas, which is really healty, filling and cheap as well. I also threw some grated turnips in there, which gave the dish a bit of a sweet touch. I used sour cream for the sauce (what is called crème fraice in Sweden, I am not sure what the right product is for that in other countries) which made it very creamy and nice. For seasoning I threw in some of my favourite spices, that I luckily also found in most traditional recipes for chicken and mushroom pie; parsley, chives, thyme and nutmeg. With some good vegetable stock it mixes up to a delicious, filling and comforting dish.
I used canned cooked chickpeas because I didn’t have any precooked ones at home, but I think they often have a bit of a canned aftertaste and prefer to use dried ones that has been soaked over night and cooked ahead. For the squash lid I used acorn squash but any kind of big squash should work out well. Butternut is a personal favourite as well. Try to stay away from the orange pumpkin that is used for carving, as they are usually watery and quite tasteless.
Chickpea and mushroom “pie” with a squash crust
Around 10 large button mushrooms, sliced
400 gram precooked chickpeas
2 turnips, grated
300 decilitre of sour cream, crème fraice or similar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
½ yellow onion, chopped
1-2 cubes of vegetable stock+ ½ dl water
Parsley, nutmeg, thyme and chives to your taste
Salt and pepper
½ of a small acorn squash, sliced. Enough to cover the dish that you make the pie in.
1 decilitre of grated cheese, preferably cheddar.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Fry the garlic and the onion in some oil or butter until it turns golden. Add the sliced mushrooms and the turnip and fry until browned. Add the stock and the water and boil for 5-10 mniutes, then add the sour cream and the chickpeas. Season with the spices to your taste. Don’t forget some salt and a good dash of black pepper.
Move away from the heat.
Slice the squash in approximate 1 cm thick slices. Cut of the peel.
Pour the mushroom and chickpea filling in to a oven proof dish. Cover the filling with the squash slices, so that there is only small uncovered spaces left. Spread the cheese on top of the squash.
Bake for around 20 minutes, until the cheese has a golden crust and the squash feels soft.
Serve with a steady salad.
The picture does not quite make the dish justice, it as a lot scrummier than it looks here.