Okay, yes, I grant you, this is a warm February. That’s handy for housetraining little puppies, but not especially conducive to a desire to tuck yourself in on the couch in front of the fireplace with winter comfort food like a pot pie. But this recipe was really good . . . that is, I assume the original is very good and the version I made certainly was.
So whether or not your February is highly wintry, you might try this if you’re into mushrooms. If you’re not, this recipe might convert you.
The original recipe is from Bon Appetit and you can see it here.
Here is the version I made, which is similar but (quite a bit) easier, and used baby portabellas (which were available) instead of oyster mushrooms (which were not).
The original uses a pastry topping. I used a drop biscuit topping, which was lots easier and also meant it was easy to bake one individual pot pie at a time rather than make them all at once.
The original calls for 6-oz ramekins. I used 8-oz individual baking dishes.
Mushroom Pot Pies with Biscuit Topping
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 lb button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 C sherry (I used rice wine, which is what I had handy)
4 C chicken broth
1/4 C dried porcini
3 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
1 C red pearl onions, or white pearl onions if those are easier to find, or chopped onion if that suits you better
1 Tbsp butter
2 sprigs thyme, or you know, some. I really don’t know how much a sprig is. I used about half a tsp dried.
8 oz oyster mushrooms, or baby portabellas, or whatever, sliced
2 Tbsp butter
Okay, now, heat the oil and butter, sauté the onion ten minutes, add the tomato paste and cook one minute longer. Add the button mushrooms and cook 15 minutes. Add the sherry and cook five minutes. Add the broth and porcini and simmer one hour. Strain and discard solids. Or, you know what? Reserve the solids, which will make a perfectly fine mushroom side dish for another meal. I was amazed at how edible the mushrooms were after an hour of simmering. You will definitely want to try them before you throw them away.
Now, heat three Tbsp butter and add the flour. Whisk four minutes. Add the liquid from above and cook one minute or so, until thickened. Now you have mushroom gravy with a wonderful deep flavor. You can stop right there if you like and chill the gravy until you are ready to complete the pot pies.
Place the fennel and the pearl onions . . . you know, you can peel pearl onions easily by first trimming a bit off the root end, plunging them into boiling water for 30 seconds, dumping them out, cooling them, and squeezing them out of their skins. I never knew that before, but it is much the easiest way to handle pearl onions. Anyway, add the butter and 1 C cold water to the pan and simmer 8 minutes, covered, and 18 minutes, uncovered. I doubt the timing needs to be as precise as this implies. Set this aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp butter and sauté the portabellas and thyme for six to eight minutes. Add to the fennel mixture. Add the mushroom gravy. Spoon into ramekins.
Make biscuit topping. I use 1/3 C flour per 8-oz casserole dish. Maybe 1/2 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt, a little oil, a little milk, voila. Get the filling really hot — the microwave works best if you made the filling ahead. Drop spoonfuls of the biscuit topping over the ramekins. Bake 15 minutes or so at 400 degrees, until the biscuits are browned on top and feel done when you tap one with a finger.
Cool a bit before serving and there you go. Mmmm. This was really good and I will make it again quick before spring.