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nosh friday: mushroom and lentil pot pie

November 12, 2010

Though I’m not a full vegetarian (I love bacon too much), I don’t eat a whole lot of meat. It’s expensive, it’s hard on the earth to raise en masse and sometimes, I just don’t want to eat a large slab of meat. (Ew.) Whenever I can find tasty, filling vegetarian options for traditionally meat-oriented food, it is a happy day. When I came across this recipe for Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies in this month’s issue of Bon Appetit, I got so excited I’m pretty sure there was some shouting and exultation going down.

(Oh yeah, and it has a Gouda biscuit crust. Squeak!)

These pot pies were pretty easy to make, despite one or two more “specialty” ingredients (which I found easily at my local grocery), and were incredibly delicious. Even my meat-and-potatoes brother-in-law cleaned out his bowl. The mushrooms kept the filling incredibly meaty and full-bodied, with a delightful earthy flavor that pairs nicely with the hearty lentils. Yum yum yum.

An autumn-y/winter-y dish I shall make again and again! (Preferably on the night of the first real snow…with my twinkle lights on…and possibly some Sigur Ros playing…)

Enjoy, mes amis!

Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies With Gouda Biscuit Topping
From Bon Appetit (November 2010)

Filling:

1/2 c. lentils
1/4 tsp. salt
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
6 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
4 tsp. soy sauce (I left this out because I didn’t have any)
1 tbsp. tomato paste

Topping:

1 c. plus 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
6 tbsp. yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. chilled, unsalted butter, diced
1/2 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. packed, coarsely shredded Gouda cheese (about 3 oz.)

For the filling, combine 3 cups of cold water with the lentils and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain and set the lentils aside.

Pour 3 cups of boiling water over the dried porcini in a medium bowl and let them steep and get all happy for about 25 minutes. Remove the porcini (carefully, they’re hot) and squeeze the liquid out of them. Coarsely chop and set aside. And most importantly, RESERVE THE SOAKING LIQUID. This stuff is pure, mushroomy bliss.

Heat 1 tbsp. of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and saute for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the olive oil, the carrots, onion, sage and thyme. Inhale and giggle happily. Saute for 4 minutes, then add the garlic, sauteing for an additional 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium-low and sprinkle in the flour, mixing well with the veggies to coat and letting cook for 1 minute. Add in the porcini and their heavenly liquid, stirring well. Add the potatoes, soy sauce (if using) and tomato paste. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 13 to 15 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally, mine stuck a little.

Add the lentils and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the filling amongst 4 oven-proof bowls. (You could also use one larger dish, if you don’t have the oven-proof bowls. I don’t think the pot pie gods would smite you for it.)

For the biscuit topping, start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating up, get out the food processor and blitz together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Just a few pulses, to get it combined. Add the butter and pulse till the dough resembles coarse meal. Add in the buttermilk and half the Gouda and pulse until the dough forms moist clumps. That’s a good sign; that’s some happy dough. (Note: BA didn’t say to add half the cheese into the dough, but I liked it that way. You can do whatever floats your boat.)

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, separate into 4 equal sized pieces and pat into cute little discs, just big enough for the tops of your bowls. Top the pies with the remaining Gouda and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the biscuit topping is lightly browned. (Sorry my final photo is blurry. I was in too much of a hurry to get back to eating my delicious dinner.)

Serves 4

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