Having previously been a vegetarian for nine years, I found at the beginning of my new escapades cooking with vegetables, that some mushrooms were a vital necessity in vegetarian meals. The meaty texture and full flavour lends a helping hand to some veggie dishes that can be so unbelievably boring and bland, as was definately true in my kitchen in student days! On one occasion, I made this pie when little, well actually nothing, was in the refrigerator except butter and mushrooms, and all that was in the bare cupboard was flour, spices, dried herbs and garlic powder. My housemates and I had gone shopping the previous day but had forgotten to buy food, *cough* in our haste to a campus party. So, starvin marvin’s the next evening, and a little green behind the gills, I made pastry and whipped up this pie for us. The port wine appeared from the only guy in the house, who had bought it on special the previous day, and had generously left a little. Needless to say he didn’t feel particularly ‘special’ the next morning!
This is an easy, quick pie to make for lunch or dinner and although I have used bought puff pastry, use shortcrust, homemade or whichever suits you. You can use a variety of fresh mushrooms or dried or both, remember though, dried ‘shrooms swell when re-constituted in water. Also field mushrooms contain a lot of water, so they will shrink and you may need spectacles to find a couple in the finished pie! If you want to add more meaty ‘shrooms… do.
Ingredients (makes 1 pie)
- bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme/2 sprigs fresh
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 small onion/2 shallots
- 1 tbsp butter & 1 tbsp sunflower/rapeseed oil
- roux: 1 tbsp of flour & 1 tsp melted butter
- sea-salt & black pepper
- 250 – 300g mixed mushrooms
- 50ml chicken stock
- 1 tsp mushroom ketchup (optional)
- small glass port wine
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 pkt puff pastry
- egg to glaze
If you are using frozen puff pastry, defrost according to the instructions on the back of the packet.
Pre-heat oven to 210°C.
If using dried mushrooms, pour over enough warm water to cover and leave for 15-20 minutes.
Wipe any fresh mushrooms you are intending to use and quarter them or leave some of the smaller ones whole.
Heat a frying pan with the butter and oil over medium to hot, then peel and finely chop the onion/shallots and garlic.
Place the fresh mushrooms into the hot pan, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes tossing or stirring occasionally. Pour in the port wine, onions and garlic and cook for another minute.
Strain the steeping dried mushrooms, retaining the brown water which is full of flavour. There might be silt at the bottom which is nothing to worry about as it’s the water we want to keep!
In a separate saucepan pour the chicken stock and retained mushroom water, bay leaf, thyme, fish sauce and mushroom ketchup. Season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil.
Melt the butter for the roux (just a thickener), add the flour and mix in a small bowl or cup. Add this to the saucepan of delicious mushroom liquid, whisking continually for a minute until smooth and lump free. Add the dried strained mushrooms and cook for five minutes.
Then add this gravy/jus to the frying pan of fried mushrooms, onions and garlic and stir, heating gently through for a minute or two.
Remove the bay leaf, check for seasoning and pour into a buttered pie dish.
Cool slightly and then cut out a pastry lid brushing the edges of the dish with egg first to help seal. Place the pastry over, making a hole in the middle for steam, or use a pie flute.
Brush with egg and bake for 15-20 mins, until the pastry is cooked.
‘cócaire le grá agus le grá do cócaireacht’
(cook with love and love to cook)