Saturday, January 5, 2013
As the weather turns colder and we enter deeper into the winter (although it is comforting to know that minutes of sunlight are no longer disappearing and are slowly beginning to trickle back) comfort food is definitely on the menu around these parts. Sometimes it takes the form of savory pies.
I made this meatless version of shepherd's pie with leeks and a mix of different mushrooms instead of the lamb or beef, combined together with a splash of red wine, Worcestershire sauce, and some vegetarian stock. I used portabella, shiitake, button and oyster mushrooms, which provided a nice texture and a complex flavor. For the top, I added some rutabagas to the potatoes for added taste.
Traditionally made with minced or ground lamb, this English dish is called cottage pie when made with ground beef. Sometimes the vegetarian version of it is referred to as "Shepherdless Pie," but I am operating under the assumption that the original recipe did not call for any shepherds, just their flock. And so I still like to call this a shepherd's pie, perhaps one reserved for those occasions where the shepherd brought back a sack full of different mushrooms that he gathered on his way home.
This dish is very filling, flavorful, and "meaty" despite being meatless as a result of the mushrooms and the flavor of the seasonings, sure to please shepherds and non-shepherds alike.
Note: I added a bit of flour to the mushrooms to help thicken the mixture, however it can be omitted if you are looking for a gluten-free option; instead, simmer the mushrooms for a few more minutes to reduce the liquid.
Serving suggestion: serve with wassail.
Meatless Shepherd's Pie
You will need:
4 small gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 small rutabagas, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium leeks, rinsed and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 lb assorted mushrooms (e.g. portabella, shiitake, oyster, button), sliced
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 dried bay leaf
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup soy milk
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes and rutabagas and boil until the vegetables are soft, 25-30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan. Add the leeks, shallot, and garlic, and sauté until leeks begin to soften, about 5-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until the liquid that mushrooms give off begins to evaporate, 5-8 minutes. Add the red wine, cook for about 1 minute, then add the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Add bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Mix flour with about 1/8 cup water (to avoid clumping) and add to the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn off the heat and stir in parsley and chives.
3. When the potatoes and rutabagas are done, drain and mash with a masher. Stir in the soy milk until absorbed and season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. To assemble and bake the pie, spoon the mushrooms onto the bottom of a round ceramic pie dish (10 inches in diameter), and top with the mashed potatoes and rutabagas. With a fork, make small peaks in the mashed root vegetables so that the top will brown nicely. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the juices are bubbling and the top is lightly browned. Serve.