It's time to get back in there and dig in ... so says, Silent Bob.
It's been an age since I've contributed to the Nigel Slater-fest that the I Heart Cooking Club is hosting. Life has delivered far too much drama to the grey cottage, of late. I have been feeling less than creative and more like a sad sack. I've turned toward home and comfort, lying about healing and slowly coming back into the world and my obligations to friends, near and far. I think I might be back ... perhaps a bit worse for the wear, but back to looking and cooking, writing and snapping photos, and beginning to get back to my old self ...
That being said, I'd like to share this home-y and homely little pie that SB and I shared last evening. It was a perfect late supper on a cloudy and windy evening when thunderstorms were threatening and the skies were darkening ominously.
Nigel Slater called this a wintertime dish and I can't disagree, but for a blustery Spring evening, it certainly hit the spot. The gravy around the mushrooms and leeks has a really nice lemon and tarragon highlight that surprised me, as I thought that the Madeira wine in the gravy was going to go amiss with these two light flavours, but no! It was wonderful! The crushed potatoes crisped nicely atop the vegetable stew and browned up to make a nice counterpoint to the soft slurry of leeks and chunky bite of the mushrooms. A perfect dish to have with a crispy cool salad on the side.
Nigel Slater’s Mushroom and Leek Pie
adapted to make it gluten free and meatless
400 g leeks, whites and light green portions - well-cleaned and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. olive oil
30 g. butter
600 g assorted mushrooms – rubbed clean, stemmed and quartered
2 tbsp. cornstarch
300 ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp. Marsala wine
Zest and juice of a mid-sized lemon
½ tsp. dried tarragon leaves or leaves from a couple sprigs of fresh herb
2 generous tbsp. Mascarpone cheese or sour cream
1 kg. potatoes, skins on, washed, and gently simmered until tender
50 g butter for crushing with the potatoes
Making the Dish:
- Place the potatoes in a deep saucepan with cool water. Bring the pan to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and let the potatoes cook gently. When they are just knife tender, remove them from the heat, drain the water, add the butter and let the pot sit covered until you are ready to top the pie.
- Heat the olive oil, butter and leeks in a deep fry pan until the leeks are wilted, glassy, and beginning to caramelize.
- Remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the prepared mushrooms in batches that don’t crowd the pan, and sauté until they are brown and crisped a bit on all sides, pulling the batches from the pan between sessions and leaving them to meld with the leeks while you cook the next batch. You may need to add tiny amounts of butter to the pan to get all the mushrooms prepared.
- When your last batch of mushrooms are browned, turn the leeks and other mushrooms and all the juices back into the pan, adding the cornstarch to make a roux.
- Add the vegetable broth, and the Marsala wine and stir, letting the mixture simmer to a smooth gravy. Add salt and black pepper, to taste.
- To finish the sauce, add the tarragon, lemon zestand lemon juice, stirring to combine.
- Turn the contents into a baking casserole and add the dollops of Mascarpone cheese, swirling it in, but not melting it in completely. Set aside.
- Use a hand masher to coarsely mash the potatoes, spoon them over the mushroom and leek stew, salt and pepper them and place the pie in a 425° Foven for 25 minutes or until the pie is bubbly at the edges and the potatoes are browned and crisped.
You know how I sometimes rant on about pub food? Yup... this rccipe would fit well on a pub menu board
I'm sharing it with friends at the I Heart Cooking Club. It's potluck week ... I wonder what everyone else is sharing ...