Free-form spelt pie with spicy beef, butternut squash and feta

It’s British Pie Week and Brits up and down the land are apparently celebrating by indulging in their favourite pies, whether homemade or shop-bought, sweet or savoury.

And as a fan of just about anything that comes wrapped in pastry, I felt compelled to offer you one of my own latest pie experiments.

freeform spiced beef and butternut squash pie 2

As I’m sure you know by know, baking isn’t really my forte, so a free-form pie crust is right up my street as it’s meant to look ‘rustic’ or, in other words, a bit of a state.

This pie is so quick and easy to pull together, and the spelt wholemeal pastry is surprisingly light and crisp and very tasty. Filled with savoury mince, roast butternut squash and tangy feta cheese, lightly spiced with sumac and cumin, it’s an ideal light lunch or supper dish.

The children loved it and the husband too – although he reckons it would be better served with gravy. I was happy with a yoghurty dressing, but I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that.

freeform spiced beef and butternut squash pie 3

Free-form spelt pie with spicy beef, butternut squash and feta

Serves 6

Half a medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
4 tbsp Pomora rosemary oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
500g beef mince
large pinch of sumac
100g feta cheese, cubed

For the pastry

200g wholemeal spelt flour
large pinch of salt
100g butter, diced
4 tbsp cold water

For the dressing

6 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 egg, beaten

steamed green beans to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Place the butternut squash in a roasting tin and toss in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes until tender.

To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture forms a consistency like breadcrumbs. Gradually mix in the water until you a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent.  Add the cumin seeds, garlic sumac and fry for a minute or so before adding the minced beef. Cook for around five minutes until the mince is browned. Stir in the roasted butternut squash and cubes of feta.

Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Flour your surface, and carefully roll out the pastry into a large circle. Pile the beef filling into the middle of the pastry and gently fold up the sides towards the middle, leaving a small opening.

Brush the pastry with egg was and sprinkle with a little more sumac. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

To make the dressing, simply place the yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and mustard in a bowl and whisk together. Pour over green beans to serve.

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