Mushroom, Ale and Celeriac Pie

I spotted this recipe in a copy of Vegetarian Living, a monthly magazine I can heartily recommend as it has some of the most amazing recipes, giving the lie to the perception that vegetarian food is boring. This recipe was crafted by Rachel Demuth, who runs a cookery school – I keep dropping hints to my wife that a course there would be a good present…

She might take more notice now, we had this last night and all she kept saying was: “This is delicious!”

It is. It is one of those recipes that must use alchemy, it is very much more than the sum of its delicious parts. The gravy that results is also fantastic; I have made a note to myself to make this the next time we have a roast beef dinner, the pairing will be sublime.

Curiously, for such a ‘beefy’ dish, it is very easily made vegan-friendly. Just use vegan ale (yes, there is such a thing) and vegan puff pastry, use water rather than egg to stick the pastry on, and brush the top of the pastry with soy milk.

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RECIPE – serves 4

10g dried porcini mushrooms
300ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g celeriac, peeled and diced into 1 cm cubes
1 large carrot, sliced
150g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
150g mixed mushrooms, sliced
200ml Guinness or similar ale
1x 400g tin tomatoes
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp Marmite
½ tsp cornflour
2 bay leaves
2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
500g puff pastry or flaky pastry
1 egg, beaten


METHOD 

In a pan, heat the vegetable stock until boiling then add the dried porcini and allow to sit in the cooling stock for 30 minutes. Prepare all your other ingredients.

Strain the re-hydrated porcini through muslin, saving the stock for use later. Finely dice the porcini and set aside for now.

In a large deep-sided frying pan or wok, fry the sliced onion in sunflower oil for around 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the diced celeriac and carrot and fry on a high heat, stirring often. Add the crushed garlic and the mushrooms (not the porcini) and cook for around 5 minutes until the mushrooms have given up their liquor and most of it has cooked off. Add the bay leaves.

Pour in the ale and bring it to a simmer for a few minutes. Meanwhile, mix the cornflour with a tablespoon of cold water and mix to a paste.

Add the tinned tomatoes, vegetable stock, chopped porcini, coarse grain mustard and Marmite, bring to the boil then add the cornflour paste. Stir thoroughly and keep stirring until the sauce has thickened, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the sauce is thick and rich

Add the chopped thyme and parsley and season well. Leave it to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 220C/ 200C fan/ gas 7.

Pour the cold mushroom filling into a 1 litre pie dish. Roll the pastry out to the thickness of a pound coin (4 or 5 mm) large enough to cover your pie dish with some to spare. If your pie dish has a flat edge then cut a ring of pastry to the thickness of the flat edge and stick it on with a brush of beaten egg.

Carefully lift the pastry and place it over the pie dish. Press down the edges to form a good seal and trim off any excess with a sharp knife. Reserve the trimmings to decorate the pie. Knock up and flute the edges of the pie and cut a small cross in the middle to let out the steam. Brush the top with beaten egg.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed up and golden.

I served this with creamy potato mash with a couple of tablespoonfuls of horseradish cream whipped into it, alongside seasonal vegetables.

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