Kingfield Farmers Market Veggie Bake-Off

Earlier in the week, Bettie Beware emailed me about the veggie bake-off at the Kingfield Farmers Market this weekend.  Kingfield Farmers Market, in south Minneapolis, holds monthly themed bake-offs in which local bakers are invited to showcase a seasonal ingredient, help raise money for the market, and put their best baked goods up for critical and public judging.  Last year, I entered the apple bake-off.  I hadn’t thought about entering any bake-offs this year until Bettie’s email piqued my interest.  Baked veggies… that could be interest.  I assumed there would be carrot cake or zucchini bread, some variants like that.  And maybe sweet or savory corn bread.  What else?

It was an interesting enough question that I decided to enter but needed a baked item.  I don’t have any special recipes for carrot cake or zucchini bread and I wanted to push the baked-veggie category a bit by making something more unconventional.  I started brainstorming about veggie casseroles, some kind of potato au gratin dish, then I got really excited about the idea of a veggie quiche because it would showcase my pie crust, which lead me to the obvious (and room temperature stable) choice: veggie pasties.

I make pasties rather often, though I usually call them baked sassy pies on the Menu.  I use the same crust as I do for my traditional pies and stuff them with all manner of different sweet and savory fillings.  Its a great way to use leftover vegetables, meat, and scraps of pie crust.  I chose a straightforward mix of vegetables in a curry gravy for the bake-off and am excited to say that I again won both the critic’s choice and public vote.  The other entries were veggie corn bread and zucchini chocolate cake.

It was so much funny, and I was happy to hang out at the market watching people try the bake-off entries with Bettie and Dr. Sam supporting me.  I also wondered over to the frame shop (Frame Ups) across the street from the market and discovered a ridiculously tempting array of local cards, jewelry, yard, and bags.  I am super grateful to the Mojo Monster who watched me almost freak out in the kitchen the morning before the bake-off as I was running late and struggling to figure out how I was going to transport all the pasties to the market.  She offered me many cooling rack options and a ride which prevented all meltdowns and got me to the market only a little late.  Love the market, love pretty things, love produce and other tasty food, love my people!

And here’s the winning recipe (makes six pasties):

Crust:
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (or 1 stick butter and 1/2 cup lard.  I usually use a lard-butter mixture but went with an all-butter crust for the bake-off pasties.  All-butter crust is harder to work with and sometimes does not produce as tender of a crust but benefits from a stronger butter flavor.)
2/3 to 3/4 cup ice water

Place flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor.  Process for three short pulses.  Add butter and process for three long pulses.  Pour in water and process for three medium pulses.  Dough will not come together completely.  That’s ok.  Dump dough and crumbs into a bowl and knead just until almost all of the crumbs are incorporated.  Err on the side of less kneading.  When the dough is refrigerating, it will come together even more.  Form into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.  I used Hope Creamery butter for the bake-off.

Filling:
4 tbsp butter (or chicken drippings.  I make my own chicken stock from leftover chicken pieces, bones, and vegetable ends which usually yields a layer of rendered chicken fat on top which make excellent gravy.)
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 large head of garlic, minced
1/2 large white onion, diced
1 medium heat banana pepper or 1/2 spicy banana pepper, minced
1 cup chicken stock (vegetable stock or coconut milk would also work well)
1 tbsp curry powder
salt and pepper
1 cup potatoes, cubed
1 cup kohlrabi, cubed
1 cup carrots, cubed
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced

1. Make a roux by melting 2 tbsp of fat (I used chicken drippings for the bake-off pasties because I had some in the freezer but I typically use butter) over medium heat.  Whisk the flour into the fat to make a paste and cook the paste for 5-10 minutes until it smells nutty and darkens slightly in color.  Set aside.

2. In a large pan, saute the garlic, onion, and banana pepper in the remaining 2 tbsp of fat until translucent (5 minutes over medium heat).  Increase the heat, add the stock and curry powder, and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat back to medium, add the roux, and stir until well blended.  Cooking for 5-10 minutes until the gravy has thickened.  Salt and pepper to taste.

3. Steam the potatoes, kohlrabi, and carrots in the microwave or a steamer until they are half cooked (they will cook the rest of the way in the oven).  Time will vary depending on the size of your cubes and strength of your microwave.  Steam the bell pepper in a similar manner.  I steamed the potatoes, kohlrabi, and carrots for five minutes in the microwave and the bell pepper for two.  I used a mixture of yellow, red, and purple fingerling potatoes and a mixture or orange, purple, and white carrots for the bake-off.  All the produce I used for the bake-off with the exception of the garlic came from either the Centennial Lakes Farmers Market or Minneapolis Farmers Market.  Combine the steamed vegetables and mix into the gravy and refrigerate.

4. Once completely chilled, divide each dough disk into thirds and press into a ball (six dough balls total).  Roll each ball of dough to about 8-10 inches around and 1/4 inch thick.  Place a scope of cold filling into the center of the dough round and avoid the temptation to over-fill otherwise the dough will stretch and tear (I know.  I am a chronic over-filler.  Over-filled pasties will be tasty enough, but all the gravy may run out while baking or make a mess in the oven).  Fold the dough round in half and seal edges together decoratively with a fork.

5. Bake at 425 degrees in a preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until desired golden brown, crispiness is achieved.  Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack and serve warm or cool completely and serve at room temperature.  Yum!

Pronunciation note: a pasty or pasties (pronounced with a long ‘a’ like in ‘bad’) are not the same as pasties (pronounced with an ‘a’ like in ‘paste’) but either makes me smile!  Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy 🙂

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