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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Chestnut, mushroom & onion pie

Recipe adapted from

If the world doesn’t end tomorrow, I recommend that you try this out at some point. I think it might be, along with the sausage and apple hot pot one of the most grown-up things I have ever made. It is rich and perfect for winter, one of those vegetarian recipes that really does tick all the ‘depth of flavour’ boxes. Also, as it only uses a small amount of wine – you can drink the rest! If wine isn’t really your thing, I recently discovered that Sainsburys are selling mini bottles of wine, 3 for £5. This is great for if you want to cook with wine but not necessarily open a whole bottle, or just really don’t want to drink a whole bottle.

I know that most of the time I come across as quite a confident cook, but in reality I’m really not. In theory I know how to make most things because I watch so much cooking television, but no matter how many hours of ‘Great British Bake Off’, I still can’t pluck up the courage to make my own bread or pastry. It’s weird really because cake and macaroons hold no fear for me. I think that I just don’t trust/understand the alchemy that is yeast, and have nightmares about the dreaded ‘soggy bottom.’ I’m a bit of a scaredy-cat really – I stopped riding my bike aged seven because I didn’t like how it went faster going downhill, and don’t even get me started on ice skating or cable-cars. What this means, is that in terms of baking, my fear of pastry even spread to the ready-made frozen stuff, and this was in fact the first time I have used it. Now I don’t normally own up to this sort of thing, but I feel that I need to tell you, because the photograph of the little pies doesn’t look so brilliant. It’s all a learning curve I suppose, and they tasted amazing anyway.

Ingredients (makes enough for 6-8 small pies, 1 big one or a stew for approx. 4 people)

200g cooked chestnuts (such as Merchant Gourmet vacuum packed)

2 bay leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary

200ml red wine

300ml vegetable stock

25g butter (I don’t normally cook with butter, but it really makes this dish - can use vegan margarine)

1tbsp olive oil

12 shallots or baby onions, peeled & cut in half

400g chestnut mushrooms, cut into quarters

2 tbsp Beurre Manie (1 tbsp flour mixed to a paste with 1 tbsp softened butter/marg– I used a microwave to help this process)

2 tsp (not heaped) Dijon mustard

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 sheets of puff pastry (some ready made pastry in supermarkets is actually vegan)


Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the olive oil to stop it burning and fry the onions until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bay leaves and rosemary and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.  

Add the chestnuts, red wine and vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally.
Add the beurre manie, stirring constantly until is dissolves, and cook for a further 5 minutes until the sauce is thickened.

Stir in the mustard and flat leaf parsley and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If serving this as a stew, you can serve it immediately or reheat – it reheats really well, but does get a little too thick if left on a low heat for a long period of time.

If making this into pastry, let the mixture cool down completely (information I know thanks to the ‘wellington’ challenge on Great British Bake Off). I tried some small squares of pastry into triangles, and some larger rectangles of pastry into squares. Whatever shape you do, you will get about 4 from each sheet of pastry.

Dollop a spoonful of the mushroom mixture into the pastry, being careful not to go to the edges (I failed). Fold the pastry over carefully to create your desired shape, and crimp the edges closed with a fork.

Brush the pastries with a little milk and bake in a pre-heated oven (180-200c) for roughly 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

not the prettiest, but tasted amazing