Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for caramelised onion, saffron and potato pie

In every walk of life, there are unsung heroes. They’re not necessarily timid, but they simply don’t draw attention to themselves and the value they add or work they do. In the world of ingredients, I would put onions, pastry, saffron and potatoes in this category. None tends to play a starring role, but, rather, vital supporting acts. Today’s recipe is a homage to all of these ingredients, whose flavours come together in smooth harmony. However, even support acts need help sometimes, and no pie is complete without a salad, so I’d highly recommend a bowlful of leaves dressed in dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil to sit alongside.

You’ll need a 20cm springform cake tin for this.

Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr 50 min
Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
1½ tsp fine sea salt
3 garlic cloves
, peeled and grated
12 saffron strands
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tsp mild curry powder
2 x 320g packs ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
– I like Jus-rol
500g maris piper potatoes (ie, 2 large ones), peeled and cut into 3mm-thick slices
Oat milk, for glazing

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6 and line a 20cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat and, once it’s hot, add the onion and salt and saute, stirring regularly, for 20 minutes, until reduced and caramelised. Stir in the garlic, saffron, pepper and curry powder, cook for three minutes, then take off the heat.

Take both the pastry sheets out of the fridge and unroll them on a worktop. Gently put the lined tin on top of one sheet of pastry and, using a table knife, score a circle in the pastry that’s 2cm larger than the tin. Set this to one side, still on its backing paper, along with the offcuts.

Take the other sheet of pastry so the longest side is facing you (ie, like a landscape picture), then cut an 8cm strip off the right-hand side, leaving you with a square of pastry. Lay this over the tin, gently push it down into the centre, then press into the bottom and sides. Use the cut-off strip to patch up the sides of the tin all the way up, allowing any excess to hang over the edge.

To fill the pie, take roughly a third of the potato and layer the slices neatly in the bottom of the tin, overlapping them by half a centimetre. Top with half the cooked onions, spreading them thinly over the potatoes, then add another layer of potatoes. Top this with the remaining onions and finish with a final layer of potatoes. It won’t look like the pie is very full, but don’t worry.

Remove the paper from the cut-out pastry circle, lay it on top of the final layer of potatoes and lightly press the edges inside the tin. Fold the overhanging edges back over the top and either crimp or seal them shut with a fork. Cut a 2cm cross in the middle of the lid, so steam can escape while baking. Cut out any decorative shapes you fancy from the leftover pastry (some onions, perhaps) and arrange on the top.

Brush the pastry lid all over with oat milk, then bake for an hour and 15 minutes. After this time, poke a skewer into the centre: if there’s resistance, return to the oven for another 15 minutes; otherwise, if the skewer passes easily through the potatoes, remove the pie from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

To remove the pie from the tin, carefully run a palette knife all around the edge and, once the tin is cool enough to the touch, open the tin and lift it up and over the top. Transfer the pie on to a serving plate, cut into thick wedges and serve warm with a bright, leafy salad.

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