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Pork and Black Bean Pies with a Sweet Potato Topping

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I love a good pie!  Who doesn’t?  When Ivy from kopiaste.org announced she was hosting an event titled “Savoury Pies” I began to salivate.  I love pies in all shapes and forms.  From the iconic Aussie meat pie to that famous Greek “spanakopita” there is something really satisfying about meat and/or vegetables encased in a pastry shell.  For this event I wanted to try something different and play around with a few ideas.  I was in the mood for “Mexican inspired” flavours (sort of) and decided to experiment using that as my starting point.

This pie has three different stages of preparation.  Don’t be put off by that.  We can cheat on one of the steps by using ready made short crust pastry (as I usually do!).  It’s a hearty recipe and probably  best enjoyed in the autumn or winter months.  Nevertheless I still managed to gulp down the few I made quite easily!  The filling is a combination of slowly braised pork and black beans.  The topping utilises sweet potatoes enhanced with a little honey, butter and cream.

FOR THE PIE FILLING

* 500 grams of lean cubed pork
* 1 thinly sliced onion
* 1 clove of crushed garlic
* 1 tsp each of ground fennel, cumin, sweet paprika, chili and coriander
* 1/4 cup of tomato passata
* 2 cups of chicken stock
* 1 can of black beans
* a handful of chopped cilantro
* salt and pepper to taste

1. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent
2. Add all the ground spices and stir until they become fragrant and a paste has formed
3. Add the pork and stir through well ensuring the pork is browned all over
4. Add the tomato passata and chicken stock.
5. Add the salt and pepper
6. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for at least 2 hours, making sure to check it every half an hour.
7. 15 mins before you remove the pork off the heat stir through the rinsed and drained beans
8. Stir through the chopped cilantro
9. Allow the mixture to cool before assembling the pies.  Even better let it rest overnight to intensify the flavours.

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MAKING THE SWEET POTATO MASH

* 2 large or 4 small sized sweet potatoes
* a knob of butter
* a splash of cream
* a tablespoon of honey
* salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and chop into small chunks.  Boil for 15 mins and once softened remove from the heat and drain.  Add them back to the pot and add the rest of the ingredients.  Using an old fashioned potato masher mix everything together until it is quite smooth.

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ASSEMBLING THE PIES

I made my pie bases by using store bought short crust pastry.  I explain how to make these here.  To assemble the pies, spoon the pork and bean mixture into the cooled pie shell and then spoon over the sweet potato mash ensuring an it is spread evenly over the top.  Bake in a 180 deg C pre heated oven for 15-20 mins.  If the tops don’t come out all browned, put them under a griller for a few minutes to get a nice crispy top.  Serve with sour cream mixed with a little lime juice and chopped cilantro.

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