Leek and Mushroom Pies

 

Although we are back in a very summery Australia, I am keen to share this  savoury and wintry recipe of a Jamie Oliver inspired leek and mushroom pies with you. I cooked this recipe on our recent vacation in the lovely cold and snow covered Massachusetts and it was an enormous success with the family. So much so, that when one of my children spotted a picture of it on the computer this morning, he burst out with a “oh that was delicious”, a rather big endorsement.

I first came across this recipe while watching a Jamie Oliver special on Christmas left-overs. One of things he cooked was a ‘turkey and leek pie’. I raced through the living room trying to find a working pencil and jotted down an approximation at best of his recipe. He was talking about the struggle many people face when left with a large amount of turkey left over from Thanksgiving or Christmas. I am not sure what he was talking about, as we tend to fight over turkey left-overs and even when cooking a turkey as large as the oven, there is never enough to satisfy everyone’s large appetite for more of it. We usually have a second Christmas dinner on Boxing day, followed by turkey sandwiches and turkey soup in the week leading up to New Year’s Eve. Delicious! Anyway, so when it was time for me to make this pie with left-over turkey, I actually didn’t have any left. I decided to use a few slices of free-range bacon to give it a little meaty flavor, but really didn’t feel like adding more meat after a carnivorous visit of the extended family.

To make the leek and mushroom pie or pies, you don’t need much time or many ingredients. Buy some good quality all butter puff pastry (2 packages if you want to make individual pies) or make it yourself, which naturally would be far superior. Get a package of free-range bacon (turkey is fine), fresh thyme, a few handfuls of mixed mushrooms and 5 leeks. You’ll need one cup of stock (homemade is best, otherwise store bought free-range/ organic chicken stock, or vegetable stock), flour, half a glass of white wine and a little cream. For a party, individual pot pies would be lovely; the first time, I used a 8″ by 12″ (20 by 30 cm) pyrex dish, the second time 5 individual large ramekins.

As a proper Englishman, Jamie Oliver likes his pie with gravy. Therefore he used double the amount of stock and flour, then strained the cooking liquid from his turkey-leek mixture and turned it into gravy. I couldn’t imagine the need to pour gravy over my lovely crispy pastry, but then again, I am not English. If you feel like gravy for your pie, use double the amount of stock and flour (just like J.O.), drain the liquid from your vegetable mixture through a large sift and heat it in a small pan just before serving.  

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 5 medium leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or one teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 – 1 pound mixed mushrooms, cleaned and torn or cut in halves/quarters 
  • 1 package store-bought all butter puff pastry (or 2, see note above)
  • 1/4 liter (=1 cup) chicken stock
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 4-6 bacon rashers, cut into small bits
  • 1 generous tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • salt and pepper

Method

Cut the leeks into 0.5 cm (1/4″) thick slices and wash well to remove all sand.

Put 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan or medium pot over medium heat. Add  bacon and fry for a few minutes before adding leeks, mushrooms and thyme. Saute for 5 minutes before adding the wine. Season with one teaspoon salt and a few grinds of your pepper mill. Cover and cook, turning heat down to low, for 15 minutes. 

Sprinkle flour into the vegetable mixture, and follow with the stock and cream. Raise heat and stir well until the flour and stock are thoroughly incorporated and have done their job of thickening the mixture. Remove from stove and adjust seasoning.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180C).

Pour vegetable mixture into 5 ramekins or one large oven-proof dish (see note above).

Roll out puff pastry until it’s slightly larger than your dish or cut it into 5 pieces for your individual pies.

Cover your vegetable mixture with the pastry and press firmly onto the rim of your dish(es). Brush with some egg wash (whisk 1 egg with a teaspoon water) and score with a sharp knife.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until pastry is puffed up and has turned golden.

Remove from oven and serve immediately. Be careful, the inside of the pies are boiling hot. Best served with a lovely English beer, such as Newcastle Brown Ale.

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