Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mushroom Pot Pie

Last week on Top Chef Masters, my favorite, Carla 'Hootie-Hoo' Hall won with a chicken pot pie she made for Jimmy Fallon's birthday.  It looked so good, filled with Carla love, and the judges enjoyed it so much, I knew I had to make a veggie version for Sunday night.

In this recipe, the components are cooked separately and then assembled on individual plates rather than baked together as a pie.  It's complicated, but friends, it is so worth it.  You have complete control over all of the ingredients, so the veggies are perfectly cooked, the gravy is savory goodness itself, and the crust, is flaky and golden. 

Unlike many Top Chefs, Carla does a really detailed job writing her recipes up!  One day, I am going to make the pea salt everyone loved so much! Also stay-tuned, there will probably be an easier all-in-one dish version coming soon!  Meanwhile, for beautiful, delicious, individual 'pot' pies...

Mushroom Pot Pie
Makes 6 servings
Takes 2 hours

6 inch square piece of kombu*
2 dried shitake mushrooms
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 sprigs thyme
8 parsley stems
1 bay leaf

1 pound cremini mushrooms
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced

5 oz. peas (frozen or fresh)

For Crust:
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 pound vegan shortening

For the gravy: 
1 stick (1/4 cup) vegan shortening
1/2 cup flour
leaves from 8 parsley stems

In a quart of water, soak kombu and dried mushrooms for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Roughly chop the soaked mushrooms.

In a large pot, saute half the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, all of the parsley stems, the soaked mushrooms, and the bay leaf.  Once the onions have become translucent, add the kombu liquid (including the kombu), and an additional quart of water.  Just before it comes to a boil, remove the kelp pieces.  Once it comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and let simmer for at least an hour on a back burner while you take care of everything else.


Mix the water, salt and sugar and refrigerate.  Cut the shortening into the flour until it is like course meal.  Pour in the water and form into a dough ball, adding more flour, if necessary, to make a solid ball that doesn't stick to your hands.  Divide into 6 balls, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a large skillet, on medium high heat, saute the shallots, garlic and mushrooms until they are all coated with oil and evenly distributed throughout the pan.  Then, leave them alone so that they begin to brown.  Stir once every 2 or 4 minutes until the mushrooms release their juices, Saute for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.  Transfer mushrooms to a bowl.

In the same skillet, adding more oil if necessary, saute the remaining onions and celery.  When they've become translucent, add the remaining carrots and thyme, and saute a little longer, don't let the vegetables brown.  Add a few ladles of the simmering broth, and simmer the vegetables until they are tender, about 10 minutes.  Just before they are done, add the frozen peas, cooking for just a few minutes.  Transfer the vegetables to the mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out the dough on a floured board into 6 6-inch circles.  Lay them out onto greased parchment paper molded around a ball of aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Top with a little dough ball to give the appearance of a domed cover for the goodness underneath.  Lay the scraps of dough on another baking sheet.  Glaze the crusts with milk, soy milk or just water.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, changing their position in the oven half-way through.

While the crusts are baking, in large skillet, heat remaining shortening until melted, then add 1/2 cup of flour, stirring until the flour no longer smells like flour, but kind of toasty.  Strain the stock and add to the flour and shortening, whisking continuously until there are no lumps and it thickens up.  Add the vegetables and stir.  Keep warm until your crusts are ready.

To serve, divide the crust scraps between 6 plates, pour the veggies and gravy over and top with the crust.  Yum!

We went traditional London-style and ate our pies with mash!

Best Sunday night TV dinner ever!

*Kombu is used to make dashi, Japanese stock for soup.  The seaweed adds umami, but doesn't really have a flavor.  You can find it in Asian grocery stores and also in many health food stores. Before soaking, rinse it in water to remove the white residue.


  1. omg omg omg ...this looks amazing. is the kombu essential? of course, I am lucky to have an amazing korean grocery pretty close by

  2. This is soooooo good! I ate the leftover veggies and mashed potatoes and gravy in an open faced sandwich the next day!

    I don't think the kombu is essential, it just adds a deeper tone to the flavors more than adding an additional flavor. I do really like cooking with it though, and recently I've been trying to use it in a lot of things, just to see what it does.

    You could also cut down some of the steps by using pre-made vegetable stock instead of making that as part of the recipe.

  3. As one of the people who ate this I have to say that I absolutely enjoyed it! It tasted just like genuine chicken pot pie - the gravey/sauce was soooo good!