Guinness and Mushroom Pie
Vegetarian mushroom and Irish stout recipe
They say 'when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.' The situation I was in was - when life hands you some mushrooms, a leek and a lovely bottle of Guinness, make this delicious meat-free pie.
Further exploration of the freezer uncovered some frozen flaky pastry (always a good idea to keep in stock) so with that cheat established, we were ready to go.
The quantities below will serve two people - or one greedy husband - and this is excellent served with a salad and - of course - a glass of this fine Irish stout.
If the pastry needs to be defrosted, see to this first - although some can be cooked straight from the freezer. The packet will probably tell you what temperature you'll need to pre-heat your oven to - for the pastry I used it was 400°. All you need are mushrooms, a leek, a little oil, pastry and of course, the beer.
Funny - every time he goes to the store to buy Guinness for this recipe he comes back with at least six bottles...
Photographs © BritFlorida.
Prepare the leek
WASH AND SLICE THE LEEK
I used one medium sized leek. Wash the leek well and then cut into slices. I often find with leeks that tiny pieces of earth are still attached so it's a good idea to separate the slices into rings and give them a good rinse under the tap. I like to then dry them on a paper towel.
Heat olive oil in a heavy pan - about one tablespoon - and sweat the leek slices over a medium to low heat. While these are cooking prepare the mushrooms.
Now the mushrooms
I used 8 ounces of mushrooms. Wash them and then cut into halves or quarters depending on size. Add them to the pan with the leek. Cook for just a couple of minutes - the mushrooms only need to be warmed up and coated in the oil so that they can absorb the olive oil flavor.
I added half a large bottle. Yes, I drank the rest during cooking. (Cook's perk). I've worked out that it was about one and a half cups but the amount isn't critical. Bring it to the boil and then turn the heat down to a medium heat. By the way, by boiling beer or wine, the alcohol is removed - just in case you have guests who are concerned about this.
NOTE FOR STRICT VEGETARIANS
Beer contains isinglass - an animal by-product. If this is a problem for you, any dark ale or stout can be used and there are many available that don't contain any animal products. However, the Extra Stout version brewed in Canada uses NO animal products. This is the one that we used.
THE SECRET INGREDIENT
This might sound strange but I then add about a tablespoon of organic tomato ketchup. This helps to give flavor and body to the sauce. I like to let the vegetables cook in the sauce for about twenty minutes to allow the sauce to reduce and thicken. I always add freshly ground black pepper too.
Prepare the pastry
GET THE PASTRY READY TO BAKE
If you can make flaky pastry, I am full of admiration - I have to cheat. By now, the pastry is defrosted and I find that one slab from the packet is just bout right and needs no rolling or shaping. It depends on the brand you use. Put the slab of pastry into an ovenproof dish that has been lightly floured.
GET FANCY AND CUT THE PASTRY
Cut a rectangle around the outer edges of the pastry - about half an inch from the edge. Try not to cut right down to the bottom (like when you're cutting bread for garlic bread, leaving the bottom intact). Then lightly score the pastry as shown in the photograph - just to be fancy! At this stage, you can brush the pastry with a beaten egg to give it a golden finish when it's baked - I didn't have an egg!
The pastry I used needed about twenty minutes at 400° but this will vary depending on the manufacturer. When the pastry is cooked through you'll be able to remove the 'lid' gently using a knife.
ADD THE FILLING AND SERVE
Ladle the mushroom and leek mixture into the pastry case. I usually have extra gravy left over to serve separately. Add the pastry lid and serve.
All photographs taken in my kitchen during the preparation of this delicious pie!
Items for the home
We all know that it's a fabulous drink but it's also a very well-known brand throughout the world. The distinctive black, white and gold logo and lettering if often found on décor items for the home that are perfect for the home bar, kitchen or games room.