Spinach Artichoke And Fennel Pie
|Spinach||1 1⁄4 Pound|
|Artichoke hearts||10 Ounce|
|Beef/Chicken / vegetable stock||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Ricotta cheese||1 3⁄4 Cup (28 tbs)|
|Fromage frais||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Grated hard cheese||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Frozen puff pastry||12 Ounce, thawed|
|Medium hard cheese slices||5|
|Chopped chives||1 1⁄2 Tablespoon|
|Garlic||2 Clove (10 gm)|
|Olive oil||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Shallots/1 small onion, finely chopped||2 Large, finely chopped|
|Thinly sliced artichoke hearts||4|
|Thyme sprig||1 Small|
|Olive oil||2 Tablespoon|
|Chicken stock/Vegetable stock||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Heavy cream||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Lemon juice||1 Tablespoon|
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Heat a large saucepan two thirds full of salted water.
Trim and prepare the spinach, using only the leaves and more tender stalks; you should have about 12 oz net weight.
Wash very thoroughly in cold water, drain, and blanch in the saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes.
Drain; squeeze out all the moisture when cool enough to handle.
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a skillet with a peeled, whole clove of garlic, add the spinach, and fry very gently for 3-4 minutes while stirring.
Remove the garlic clove and set the spinach aside to cool.
Prepare the artichoke hearts, dropping each one into a bowl of acidulated water to prevent discoloration.
Cut lengthwise into quarters, then halve each quarter lengthwise.
If the artichokes are not very young and tender, use the disk shaped bottoms and cook whole.
Fry very gently in 1 tbsp olive oil with a peeled whole but lightly minced clove of garlic and a small pinch of salt for 2-3 minutes with the lid on.
Drain off any liquid and remove the garlic clove.
Set aside to cool.
If only the bottoms are used, slice each one horizontally in half when cool enough to handle.
Trim the fennel, wash, dry, and shred.
Simmer in the stock in a covered saucepan for 10 minutes until tender.
Place the ricotta and the fromage frais in a mixing bowl with the grated cheese and work in 1 egg yolk, a pinch of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and the chopped chives.
Cut off two thirds of the pastry (about 8 oz) and roll out on a lightly floured board into a circle 13-14 in in diameter and just over 1/8 in thick; use this to line a greased 10 in cake pan, allowing the extra pastry to overlap the edges evenly all the way round the rim.
Spread a layer of half the soft cheese mixture over the bottom and cover with all the spinach.
For the next layer use the sliced cheese and cover this layer with the artichoke hearts; cover these with the remaining soft cheese mixture.
Roll out the remaining pastry to make a pie lid 10 in in diameter and cover the pie; bring the overlap over this lid and press the edges together against the inside rim of the pan with the tines of a fork.
Glaze with beaten egg.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Make the sauce: sweat the chopped shallots or small onion in the butter with 1 tbsp oil for 5 minutes, add the artichokes and the thyme, and cook over fairly low heat for 5 minutes while stirring.
Add the stock, cover, and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until tender.
Remove the thyme stalk and beat with a hand held electric beater until quite smooth.
Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper to taste, and add a little lemon juice.