Canadian Thanksgiving is coming soon and I wanted to offer our friends to the North some tasty, festive recipes for their celebration of the early harvest. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. This year their celebration falls on Monday, October 8, just two weeks away.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting several delectable recipes for Canadian Thanksgiving from a number of guest contributors, vegan bloggers who really know how to dish up lavish, mouth-watering foods that will make the harvest celebration for our Canadian neighbors just as special as our November holiday.
Following is a very unique main dish from my book, Vegan for the Holidays. The stunning entree borrows its beautiful structure from a traditional Moroccan dish called bistilla.
THANKSGIVING PHYLLO PIE
Stately, delicious, and aromatic, this is the dish that will change the minds of those who snicker at the thought of a vegan thanksgiving dinner. Like a typical Moroccan Bistilla, this delicious entrée is completely encased in phyllo dough. Uniquely different is the plump filling of whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and all the herbs and spices that say Thanksgiving. Prepare the filling a day in advance to make assembly more convenient.
Yield: 10 to 12 servings
3 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup wild rice
1/2 cup pearl barley
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely shredded
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper
12 sheets phyllo dough, at room temperature
1/4 cup canola oil
1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely ground roasted pistachios
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint or parsley
1 small tomato, cut into a rose
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. To make the filling, combine 3 1/2 cups of the water, rice, barley, and 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt in a 3-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the rice and barley are tender and all the liquid has been absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, place the almonds, walnuts, and pecans in a single layer on a 17 1/2 x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Immediately pour the nuts onto a plate to cool.
4. Put the potatoes in a 1-quart saucepan with water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon and mash them.
5. Cook and stir the mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, carrots, celery, garlic, sage, cinnamon, allspice, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and the remaining 1/4 cup water in a deep, 10 to 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water as needed to prevent burning.
6. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, raisins, chickpeas, the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and pepper to the skillet, Cook another 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are broken down.
7. Add the rice mixture, toasted nuts, and mashed potatoes to the skillet and mix thoroughly. Adjust the seasonings and set aside.
8. To make the crust, place a dish towel horizontally on your workspace. Unroll the phyllo dough and place it on the dish towel. Cover it with another dish towel to prevent the phyllo from drying out. (Each time you remove a phyllo sheet, cover the dough with the dish towel.) Pour the canola oil into a small bowl and place it nearby. Lightly oil a 10-inch ovenproof skillet.
9. Remove one sheet of phyllo from the stack, and place it into the prepared skillet, allowing the ends to drape over the side of the skillet. Gently brush the phyllo with oil, including the portion that drapes over the side. Repeat with eight more sheets of phyllo, draping each of the sheets in a different direction to form a circle around the skillet.
10. Spoon the filling into the phyllo crust, packing it firmly. Lift up the edges of the draped phyllo sheets and place them over the filling. Place the remaining three sheets of phyllo on top of the pie, one at a time, brushing each with the oil. Tuck the ends of the three sheets down into the sides of the skillet. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is golden.
11. To serve, invert the pie onto a large serving platter or tilt the skillet to slide it onto the platter. Garnish the top with the cinnamon, pistachios, and mint and place the tomato rose in the center if desired. Cut the pie into wedges with a serrated knife and remove each wedge with a pie server.