The thing about January is that it is still so dark. The days are short, the trees are bare, the Christmas lights are gone and there is no sign of improvement – for months! : ( BUT, Winter has got some pretty good things going for it – namely Pies! Hearty, filling, homemade pies straight out of the oven. You can’t beat them! So, I’d like to give you my vegan version of the British classic, steak and ale pie – without the steak obvs!
Pre-vegan days I considered my steak and ale pie to pretty much be the best pie in the world – a little big headed of me I know, but I’m telling you it was damn good! I’m not going to sit here thinking about that, I’m too busy, busy making my new best pie in the world. Using all my trusted old ingredients, minus the meat and with the addition of a few new ingredients to get that rich, hearty fillingness back. I’ve had a few attempts and with the introduction of those genius puy lentils, I think I’ve cracked it.
So, dark days of January, I give you the best mushroom and ale pie in the world – take that!
Mushroom and Ale Pie
Serves 4-6. I served up 4 generous portions for my friends in the evening so made a tiny pie as well that I could take photos of to show you (stupid short days).
For the pastry:
225g plain flour
115g dairy-free margarine
2-3 tbsp cold water
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
For the filling:
1 medium onion
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large clove of garlic
400g mushrooms (I used about half portobello and half chestnut mushrooms)
1 tsp mixed herbs or thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp plain flour
200ml vegan ale (I used stout for extra richness)
200ml vegetable stock
75g cooked puy lentils
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by making the pastry. Don’t panic, it is so easy and it doesn’t need to be perfect, think Lurpak advert, but don’t use it, its not vegan der!
- Weigh out the flour and marg into a mixing bowl. Rub the flour and marg together using your finger tips until your mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add 2 tbsp of cold water and using your hands, bring the mixture together into a firm ball. You may need to use another tbsp of water if it doesn’t all come together.
- Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out fairly thin as you should have enough for the base and top.
- Line a greased pie dish with the pastry, gently pressing down the edges and trimming off the edge. Squash your trimmings back into a ball and put it in the fridge along with the pastry lined pie dish. Chill for 20-30mins.
Whilst the pastry is chilling (which apparently helps it not to shrink when you bake it) prepare the filling.
- Start by gently frying the finely chopped onion in the oil until soft in a large saucepan.
- Add the finely chopped carrot and the crushed clove of garlic.
- Wipe clean and slice the mushrooms before adding them to the pan along with the mixed herbs.
- Once the mushrooms have shrunk down and released most of their water, stir in the flour.
- Pour in the ale and vegetable stock and add the bay leaf.
- Bring to a gentle boil then reduce the heat, add the cooked puy lentils and leave to simmer.
Once the mixture is gently simmering you can blind bake the pastry.
- Remove the pastry lined pie dish from the fridge and poke a few holes in the base using a fork. Then you can cover the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans. (I never used to bother with this and just accepted some air pockets in my pastry but I’ve recently invested in some baking beans so will be doing this from now on.)
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes at 180C, it should be a pale golden brown.
By now the filling mixture should be nicely reduced and ready to put into the pie base.
- Using a slotted spoon, put the mixture into the pie base. You don’t want the pie to get soggy and you can keep the excess juices to make a gravy to serve with it.
- Get the left over pastry ball out of the fridge and roll it out to generously fit over the pie dish.
- Using a pastry brush (or your fingers) wet the edges of the pie with non-dairy milk.
- Carefully place the pastry top onto the pie, gently pressing the edges together.
- Trim off the excess pastry. (I used my excess pastry to make a jam turnover, kinda like a folded jam tart – waste not want not!)
- Brush the pie with the non-dairy milk and then bake for 20 -25 minutes at 180C or until the pastry is golden brown.
I served it with a gravy of the left over juices, mashed potato and steamed cabbage.
Enjoy! A x