Autumn Mushrooms: Dangerous and Delicious
After a soggy September, wild mushrooms are sprouting in almost every field, forest patch and lawn across our region. Some of these back-yard varieties can serve as a cornerstone for earthy, seasonal dishes. But amateur pickers beware: four people have been hospitalized in the past two weeks after eating poisonous mushrooms in their backyards.
RIS Pot Pie
(Courtesy of Ris Lacoste)
In my humble opinion, one should never make pot pie without baking the crust along with the filling, always together, never as separate entities. And there should be plenty of light, flaky crust. At my house we would fight over my mother’s flaky pastry lining the bottom of the pyrex baking dish.
Make plenty of your favorite pie dough or buy 100% butter puff pastry, rolled to 1/6" and cut to cover and/or encase individual ramekins or larger casseroles.
For the roux:
4 ounces butter
1 cup flour
For the filling:
Makes 3-4 quarts, 6-8 servings
8 ounces mushrooms, 1/4'd if large and roasted until golden seasoned with salt
1 cup pearl onions, peeled and roasted until golden seasoned with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups
2 large stalks celery, large dice, about 1 cup
2 carrots, large dice or 1/4" rounds, about 1 cup
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 quarts chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 large potato, large dice, about 1 cup
Root vegetables that are available - parsnip, celery root or sweet potato or all of the above, large dice
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen English peas
2 cups roasted chicken meat, or to taste
Roll out your pastry to suit your needs and keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
1. Make the roux. Melt the butter in a heavy based sauce pan. Whisk in the flour stir constantly, spreading the paste over the bottom of the pan to lightly color and cook the flour, for about 5 minutes. Set aside in a warm place until ready to use.
Roast the mushrooms and pearl onions. Set aside when done until ready to use.
In a heavy based 2-gallon soup pot or dutch oven, melt the 2 Tablespoons of butter and add the diced onions, celery and carrots. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme and sage and cook until the onions are barely soft, stirring occasionally, just enough to release the aromatics from the vegetables, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Let simmer for another 5 minutes to meld the flavors and season the stock.
Add the potatoes and any additional root vegetables. Season lightly with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Bring just to a boil and add the peas, roasted mushrooms, roasted pearl onions and chicken meat. Bring back just to a boil again, keeping in mind that you have about 5 minutes to finish from this point before the potatoes are not overcooked.
Thicken with the roux to desired thickness, whisking in a bit at a time and dissolving each bit, not to leave lumps. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and a dash of sherry vinegar for brightness. Remove from the heat.
Prepare your pastry to accommodate your vessel. Fill with the pot pie filling and cover with more pastry. Filling can be hot if put in the oven immediately or chilled and can be kept in the refrigerated until ready to use.
Cooking time will be in a 350 degree oven but will depend on size of pie and whether or not filling was hot or cold. Individual portions take 20 minutes or so. Larger casseroles may take up to or more than 1 hour.