The reason I entitled this post hefty eggplant pie is because this pie is so sturdy, so filling and so full of flavor that I imagine it would fill and satisfy even everyday meat eaters.
There are occassions where catering to a vegetarian can seem daunting, I know this from conversations with people in different locations around the world and their methods to feed everyone at the table happily.
This dish, would be equivalent to a filling Sunday Dinner for a vegetarian or anyone with some time on their hands to create a different dish for their main event at dinner. It takes some time to prepare and cook and is truly a meal that one wouldn’t consider having on a weekday, after work and the gym, picking kids up from school (speaking for the grown-up readers) and working late to deadlines.
Weekday’s require speed, food needs to be shoveled down between activities. While weekends allow for more sauntering meals which this definitely is.
Eggplant and Walnut Phyllo Pie
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
2 medium leeks
1 onion, finely sliced half moon
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
Handful of thyme, finely chopped
20 phyllo sheets, thawed
Peel and cut the eggplants in 1/2 inch rounds, sprinkling a dash of salt on each. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
Add approximately 3 tablespoons olive oil to a frying pan, and place on medium heat. Pat the sliced eggplant dry and cook in batches 5-7 minutes until lightly golden, turning once.
Place on paper towels and allow to drain while continuing to cook the remaining batches.
Halve the leeks and slice thinly, fry in olive oil with the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes until soft and lightly caramelized. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375F and lightly grease your baking dish.
Chop the eggplant rounds into cubes and add to the leeks, onion, garlic, along with the walnuts, grated cheeses and thyme, stir to combine.
Slice the phyllo sheets into 9 inch rectangles to fit your dish. Take one sheet and brush with olive oil layering a second sheet on top and repeating the process until you have 10 sheets, press into the base and edges of your dish, its fine if your pastry overlaps slightly.
Repeat the steps with the remaining 10 sheets of phyllo for this is your ‘lid’, cutting a number of inch slits into it..
Scoop the eggplant mixture into the pie base and lay the lid over, join the base pastry and lid together to ensure all sides are well closed.
Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
Slice and serve immediately, with a light green salad.