I read this article in the good food section of the newspaper
last week three weeks ago about food wastage, along with this smart list of seven things to do with broccoli stems. It inspired me, to inspire you, with a recipe that uses up the often wasted part of the vibrant green vegetable – broccoli.
There’s always a surplus of broccoli in my house and it’s true that often the stalks aren’t used to their full potential. I leave a large part of the stem on, but there is still a portion of stem that ends up in the compost. I know my sister’s husband is guilty of wasting the stems. I’ve spotted him numerous times chopping the broccoli so short, right down to the bushy floret, that there’s no stem left at all! It seems mad to waste this part of the broccoli. Let’s embrace this nose to tail eating, not just with our meat, but with our vegetables too.
Often, I have those days where i refuse to go shopping for MORE food. These are the times I must create a meal with the ingredients that I already have. When writing this recipe I looked in my cupboard for inspiration. I had a can of lentils – perfect. In the fridge there was a quarter cabbage sitting there waiting to be used (left over from an Asian slaw we’d had a few days earlier). There was an abundance of broccoli stem. In the freezer there were a few sheets of frozen puff pastry. I always have spices on hand and onions are an ever-present vegetable. So there you have it, a simple meal made purely from ingredients I already had at home. And a recipe that features, and even glorifies, broccoli stem.
This simple recipe can be prepared in a short time. I choose to fold the puff pastry into rectangle parcels, but feel free to make triangles, or even one large pie (if that takes your fancy). Friends of mine pack them in their kids lunch box as a welcome change to sandwiches, (you might adjust the chilli if planning to feed them to kids). Once cooked and cooled, they can be frozen and heated at a later date for a quick lunch, preferably in the oven, not microwave.
I like to eat mine with yoghurt and a dash of mango chutney.
Brocoli stem and spiced lentil pasties
1 brown onion, sliced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
small pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 cups thickly sliced broccoli stem
1 cup shredded purple (or white) cabbage
400g can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
Cracked black pepper
2 sheets puff pastry
1 egg, for brushing
1 tbsp nigella seeds
Grape seed or other vegetable oil
Pre heat oven to 220C. Line a large tray with baking paper.
Heat 1 tbsp grape seed oil (or other vegetable oil) in a large fry pan. Cook the onion gently for 2 minutes, add the shredded cabbage and cook and further 3 minutes. Add the spices and stir till fragrant. Drain and rinse the lentils and add to the onions and cabbage, stir well, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and place in a large bowl.
Steam the broccoli stems for 1-2 minutes. Cool slightly, then slice into 1cm thick strips, add to the onions and lentils, stir to combine, then set aside to cool.
Lay the puff pastry sheets out on a clean bench. Cut each sheet into 4 squares. Whisk the egg in a small bowl, brush the outer edges of the pastry with beaten egg. Divide the broccoli stem mix between the 8 pieces of pastry. Fold the opposite corners of the pastry in towards each other, followed by the other two corners. Seal the edges together by gently pressing the pastry (there’s no prizes here for neatness).
Place the pasties on the lined baking tray, brush with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with nigella seeds (or any other seed you might have on hand). Bake in the oven for 30 -35 minutes or till golden brown. Cool slightly before eating. Serve with yoghurt or mango chutney. Remaining pasties will keep for two days in the fridge, warm in the oven before serving.