It’s time to dish up some hearty winter pies


CAPE TOWN, are you ready for the enormous amount of water predicted to fall from the sky next week? I’m as excited as a puppy with two tails and I’m planning to get all the shopping done in time to stay indoors and whip up some scrumptious pies. These are ideal comfort food recipes to tuck into while the rain is lashing down; try the “steak & kidney” with a twist, and how gorgeous is the spiral pie? It’s quite labour intensive but the result is worth it.

Portabella Steak & Kidney Bean Pie

(pictured above)

Serves 8


  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste 
  • 500g Portabella mushroom steaks 
  • 500g Portabellini mushrooms, quartered 
  • 50g flour
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2 x 400g tins kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g roll store-bought puff pastry 
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 


Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large saucepan.

Brown the mushrooms in batches until golden brown all over. 

Remove from the pan and set aside. 

Add a fresh drizzle of oil to the pan. 

Sauté the onion until tender. 

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the balsamic vinegar, miso paste, tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste turns a dark brick red colour. 

Add in the golden brown mushrooms and scatter with flour. 

Mix well so everything is coated in the flour. 

Pour in the vegetable stock, mixing as you go to create a homogenous gravy.

Add the kidney beans and bring to a simmer. 

Simmer until thickened and the flavours meld together. 

Taste to adjust seasoning. 

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Scrape the filling into a ± 22cm x 30cm baking dish. 

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to fit your baking dish. 

Cover the filling with the puff pastry and press down along the edges of the baking dish to seal the pie. 

Make 4 little slits in the pastry for steam to escape. 

Brush generously with egg wash and then place in the oven. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and cooked through. 

Serve generous spoonfuls with a fresh side salad and enjoy! 

Mushroom & Mixed Veg Spiral Pie

Serves 8



  • 350g flour
  • 8g salt
  • 150g butter
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 20-30ml ice cold water


  • 250g smooth ricotta cheese
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 40g Parmesan cheese, grated 
  • 1 tsp dried herbs


  • 8 baby marrows
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 eggplants
  • 4 large portabella steaks (or the largest brown mushrooms you can find) 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 28cm loose bottomed, fluted tart tin 


For the crust:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. 
  • Mix the butter into the flour using your finger tips to make a wet sand. 
  • Add the eggs and mix with a fork until the dough is just coming together. 
  • Gradually add water, a spoonful at a time, just until the mixture holds together.
  • Don’t overwork the dough. 
  • Shape into a large disc and cover in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, or make in advance the night before. 
  • On a well floured work surface, roll the dough out into a ± 4mm thick circle. 
  • Roll up the dough onto your rolling pin. 
  • Unroll the dough over the 28cm tart tin. 
  • Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Trim off most of the excess leaving a few mm above the rim of the tart tin. 
  • Prick the base of the dough all over with a fork. Place in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 200˚C. 
  • Fill the dough lined tart tin with scrunched up baking paper and baking beans or rice. 
  • Blind bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Remove the beans and baking paper and return to the oven for another 7 minutes. 
  • Set the crust aside. 

For the filling: 

  • Whisk all the ingredients together and season well. Set aside. 
  • For the vegetables: 
  • Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, slice the courgettes into thin ribbons. 
  • Toss in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and place in a sieve to degorge. 
  • Slice the carrots and eggplants into thin ribbons. 
  • Using a very sharp knife, remove the core and slice the portabello mushrooms into thin strips. 
  • Trim all the vegetables so that the ribbons and slices are all as close as possible in size so they layer well together. 

To assemble: 

  • Spread the filling evenly over the blind baked crust. 
  • Starting from the outside next to the crust, line the walls of the tart with the veg ribbons, alternating each veg, until the entire tin is filled.
  • Brush the vegetables with a little olive oil and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. 
  • Bake at 200˚C for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables are just tender and cooked through and the tart base is crisp. 
  • Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. 
  • Slice into wedges and serve with a fresh green salad. 

Chicken & Mushroom Pot Pies

Makes 4 large individual pies 


  • 1 small whole free-range chicken, ± 1kg 
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 large leek, washed and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried herbs
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves 
  • 50g flour
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 250ml full cream milk
  • 80g fresh or frozen peas (about ½ a cup) 
  • 500g mixed cultivated mushrooms, sliced 
  • 1 x 400g roll store bought puff pastry
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 


  • Preheat oven to 200˚C. 
  • Rub chicken all over with salt, pepper and olive oil. 
  • Place in a roasting dish and roast for ± 60 minutes until cooked through. 
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes. 
  • Shred chicken and discard the skin. 
  • Use carcass for creating wonderful homemade chicken stock. 
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or deep sauté pan. 
  • Add the onion, leek and celery – cook until tender. 
  • Add the garlic, dried herbs and fresh thyme.
  • Cook until the garlic is fragrant.  
  • Add the flour and cook for a minute, coating the vegetables well. 
  • Pour in the chicken stock, stirring quickly as you go to incorporate the flour into the liquid. 
  • Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened. 
  • Stir in the peas and the shredded chicken. 
  • Taste to adjust seasoning. 
  • Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan. 
  • Sauté mushrooms, in batches if necessary, until golden brown and they have released all of their liquid. Season lightly. 
  • Fold golden brown mushrooms into the rest of the filling. 
  • Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  • Select four large ramekins, baking dishes or little cast iron mini pots or mini pans. 
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry slightly and cut out pie lids using the ramekins to measure.
  • Fill the dishes with the chicken and mushrooms filling. 
  • Top with the puff pastry, press the edges down to seal against the ramekins. 
  • Cut four little slits into each pie crust. 
  • Brush all over with egg wash. 
  • Bake for ± 35 minutes until deeply golden and the puff pastry is cooked through and perfectly crispy. 
  • Serve pies with a light side salad.

With thanks to the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.

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