Algerian Vegetable Melange in Pastry Shells

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

This simple but elegant holiday dish is served at the Aferiat home. Yolande Aferiat, from Oran, taught her daughter-in-law, Kathy, how to make it. Kathy, in turn, described it to me. Kathy’s use of peas rather than fava beans is a sign of the Americanization of Yolande’s traditional dish.

6 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1⁄2-inch chunks
1 bay leaf
10 medium pitted green olives
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1⁄2-inch dice
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 Tablespoon flour
3⁄4 cup chicken or mushroom stock
1 cup frozen green peas
Salt, if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Frozen puff pastry shells
Minced parsley for garnish
  1. Place the carrot slices in a 1-quart saucepan and cover with salted water. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 10 more minutes, until the carrots are tender but still firm. Set aside.
  2. Rinse and drain the olives. In a small covered saucepan, boil them in water for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut crosswise into 1⁄4-inch slices. Set aside.
  3. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over high heat for 15 seconds. Add the olive oil and heat for another 10 seconds.
  4. Mix in the diced onions and sauté until they’re soft and medium golden brown.
  5. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms.
  6. When the mushrooms are soft and lightly golden, add the flour.
  7. Stir for about 1 minute, until the flour is totally incorporated.
  8. Add the chicken stock, stirring constantly so that the flour dissolves and the mixture begins to thicken.
  9. Add and combine the cooked carrots, sliced olives, and frozen peas. Cover the pan and simmer the vegetables until the peas are just cooked—about 4 minutes. Check for seasonings and add as needed.
  10. Bake the pastry shells, following the package instructions.
  11. When ready to serve, remove the center “lid” of dough and place the vegetable mélange in the cavity of the pastry. Garnish with minced parsley, if desired. Serve at once.
Additional Notes
  • Avoid using yellow-green bay leaves in your dishes: they’re old, and may add a bitter taste. Instead, seek out freshly dried, bright green, firm, and only slightly brittle bay leaves for their earthy-sweet, subtle flavor. You’ll be very glad you did.