Friday, January 6, 2017

Mini Vegan Mushroom Pot Pies


Single-serving meals always make me happy: they make plating a breeze, they freeze well, they are darling to photograph - and, most excitingly, they give me a reason to use my favourite Le Creuset ceramic dishes.

I've always had a soft spot for pretty dining accessories, even more so now that I'm upping my food photography game. I've recently been coveting the Corningware Meal Mugs. I first saw these gorgeous cobalt babies on my friend Ksenia's recent post over at The Immigrant's Table, and I instantly fell in love. I'll be posting about more of my favorite kitchen tools and accessories in the coming months, as I begin to expand this blog to include more than just recipes - so, be excited! 


For now though, let's get straight down to the best part about this post - the food! I bought a gigantic container of assorted dried wild mushrooms (similar mix here) a couple of months back, and I've been finding ways to add them into everything. The meaty texture and the complex flavours ensure that meat-loving friends & family will be more than satisfied. Tossed with fresh mushrooms and the french holy trinity (onions, celery and carrot) and seasoned with fresh earthy herbs, these hearty individual-serving pies will keep you warm on chilly evenings. These simple plant-based pot pies are a great weeknight meal that you can easily prepare ahead, and the leftovers keep quite well for up to 5 days in the fridge - so you can enjoy this again and again!


- - - PREPARATION TIPS - - - 
  • Rehydrate your dried mushrooms ahead of time by pouring one cup of boiling water over mushrooms. Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes. Allow to cool, and slice into pieces. 
  • Make sure that you use a blend of fresh and dried mushrooms - rehydrated mushrooms bring about a beautiful complexity, but if you add too many, your filling well get a little too chewy.
  • Make sure to thaw your frozen puff pastry a couple of hours before you begin!

Mini Vegan Pot Pies
recipe by allison sklar 

ingredients
2 tbsp cooking oil (grapeseed, vegetable, corn, or canola)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (recipe for vegan broth here)

3 carrots, diced
2 celery sicks, diced
1 large onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

3 cups fresh white or cremini mushrooms, roughly diced
1 oz dried assorted mushrooms, rehydrated & chopped (see note above)
1/4 cup flour

1 cup cooked or canned lentils (drained)
1 cup frozen green peas
4 tbsp assorted chopped fresh herbs: I used a blend of sage, rosemary, thyme & oregano
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 package frozen puff pastry, thawed (vegans: read labels to ensure that it is vegetable-based oil!)

method
In a large mixing bowl, toss mushrooms with flour and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add carrots, celery and onions. 
Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften and slightly brown. 
Add mushrooms and stir. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
Use a wooden spoon or flat wooden spatula to scrape the pan. 
Once mushrooms begin to shrink, add broth, lentils, peas, herbs & nutmeg.
Cover and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

While your filling is simmering, lightly grease ramekins, Corningware mugs, or oven-proof stoneware dishes of your choice. Roll out your puff pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface. 
Cut the pastry using square or round cookie cutters, large enough to drape slightly over the edge of your dishes. The pastry will shrink slightly when cooked.

Uncover filling and check for consistency. It should be stew-like, not soupy. If the filling seems to dry or thick, add a few tbsp of broth to make it flow. If it's too watery, cook uncovered until some liquid evaporates and the sauce thickens.

Fill your dishes about 3/4 full with the prepared filling. (Do not overfill as the filling will bubble over in the oven!) Top with pastry. 
Cut a few small slits in the top of each one to allow for ventilation. 

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 8 to 12 minutes, or until crusts are golden brown. 

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving - filling will be extremely hot!

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