Everyone has that dish that they crack out when there are guests for dinner that they want to impress. I am naturally a people pleaser and for me there’s no greater satisfaction than to hear genuine yummy noises from around the table. My no.1 dish for this occasion is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s quick chicken and mushroom pie (first featured in Jamie’s 30 Minute meals). This pie comprises of a creamy chicken and mushroom filling with a ready rolled puff pastry lid and it’s as easy as it is delicious.
Chris and I took part in Veganuary this year and after that was over Chris decided he wants to be a vegan full-time. (He has since discovered that the vegan life is not for the faint-hearted and is allowing himself meat and dairy on special occasions, thank goodness). I didn’t want to be without this pie so created a vegan version and I would love to share it with you. My favourite thing about this is it doesn’t taste ‘vegan’ at all and I’d happily to serve it to anyone and everyone.
My greatest discovery of veganuary this year was the new plant-based Elmlea. It has truly revolutionalised cooking without dairy as it’s possible to very easily get that wonderful creamy texture without having to faff around with cashews and blenders. It whips perfectly, works well poured over desserts and, for me, tastes exactly like normal cream. I use this plant-based ‘cream’ to replace the usual crème fraiche in the recipe and replace the chicken with flat mushrooms. Most ready-made pastry is already suitable for vegans so no changes are necessary there. The ingredients used to season in this recipe are very important in order to make up for the lack of meat so don’t leave any out!
This recipe serves 4 (with mash and veg) or 2 greedy people
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 punnet chestnut mushrooms
1 punnet flat field/Portobello mushrooms
150ml White wine
Veg stock cube
½ tsp dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)
1 tbsp cornflour
100ml Elmlea plant based cream
1 roll of ready-rolled puff pastry
1tbsp plant milk (for the ‘egg’ wash)
Start by chopping the onion and frying it in olive oil in a large pan. Finely chop the garlic and add it after a few minutes. Chop up the mushrooms into large pieces – half the chestnut mushrooms, chop the flat mushrooms into thick slices so they’re still decent sized chunks once they’ve cooked down. This will give the pie filling some good texture. Add the mushrooms to the pan and fry for a few minutes. If the veg starts sticking to the pan, add a splash of water.
At this point, sprinkle the cornflower over cooking vegetables and mix in thoroughly to remove any lumps. Mix the wine in gradually so it combines evenly with the flourly veg mixture. Add the mustard and stock cube and mix to ensure the stock cube has properly dissolved. Cook for a five more minutes so the alcohol evaporates. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste (plenty of pepper is advised) and then stir in the ‘cream’. Cook for a few more minutes.
Take off the heat and transfer the pie filling to a suitably-sized, oven-proof dish. Place the pastry over the top to form a lid and curl the pastry around the edges to make a crust (and to maximise the amount of pastry involved!). Brush over a light wash of plant based milk (I use oat as it doesn’t carry much flavour) so the pastry turns golden and shiny in the oven. Use a knife to make a couple of slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Put in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celcius for 25-30 mins or until golden. Once cooked, serve immediately with roasted carrots and broccoli or mash and peas. Bon appetite.