Friday, 13 June 2014

Vegan mushroom-asparagus pot pie

So I made a pie on Monday. And it only used half the batch of pastry, which meant that come Wednesday, there was a decision in front of me: to make a Nut Wellington (which is heavenly in its own right) or to come up with an exciting new way to use up pastry.

Luckily for you, I took the path of most resistance. In large part, it was just that I got a pound of asparagus in my produce basket and it was way too beautiful to just sit in my fridge until it started looking sad.

This is very likely to make it into the cookbook, as a heads-up. It's a good excuse to use up pastry or biscuit dough, and who's never wondered, "What will I do with this leftover deliciousness?"

I'm just going to leave some pictures here, along with the recipe, and see what you make of them...

The best starting point is amazing, fresh ingredients.

Now do you see why this recipe happened?

Mushrooms are one of the main stars of this pie. They give it a really earthy--almost meaty--flavour.

This really large dish makes 6 very generous or 8 average-sized portions, so it's great for entertaining.

Leaving the pastry inside the lip of the dish means it's not as likely to boil over!

Look at that gorgeous, golden-brown crust!

It's as good as it looks. Trust me.

Vegan mushroom-asparagus pot pie 
Makes 6-8 servings

2 Tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 large green onions, coarsely chopped
1 lb asparagus, chopped coarsely
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 lb potatoes, diced
4 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
4 teaspoons dried sage leaves
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups unsalted veggie stock (if salted, add less salt)
1/2 teaspoon Marmite (optional)
1/3 cup flour
2 cups frozen peas & carrots
1 cup frozen beans

1 batch vegan pastry (you'll only use half) *

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a large pot, melt the Earth Balance and add the garlic, onions and asparagus. Sauté until the onions are translucent and the asparagus is a very bright green colour.

Add the mushrooms and diced potatoes (I leave the skins on, but you can peel them first if you want to). Keep cooking and stirring until the mushrooms are starting to "weep" (release water). Add the thyme, sage, celery seed, salt and pepper and mix in.

If using Marmite, dissolve in the vegetable broth as best you can. (It will dissolve further in the pot.) Put the flour in a small bowl and add about 1/2 cup of the broth, whisking until you get a smooth mixture. Add the remaining broth to the pot with the vegetables, then stir in the flour mixture. Bring the pot to a boil and cook for a few minutes until the broth has thickened to a gravy.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the frozen vegetables. Pour the mixture into a 3-quart casserole dish (I used this one) and set aside while you roll your pastry.

On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to just a little larger than the opening of the casserole. Place the pastry over the top (if you are worried it will break, try folding the pastry in half or quarters and then unfold on the top of the pan). Fold the excess in on itself until you have a little roll of pastry all around the top of the dish that sort of makes a ridge on the edge. Be sure the vegetable mixture is completely covered. Press the pastry into the side of the pan a little, so that it stays where it is. Cut a large slit in the middle of the pie so that steam can escape.

Bake the pie for approximately 30 minutes, or until the pastry is browned and there is gravy bubbling up through the slit in the center. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

* This pie would also be excellent with a biscuit top, particularly if you'd like to cut down on the oil content of the recipe. It is already very low in oil aside from the crust.


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