It's still Veganuary guys! I tried explaining what veganuary is to my book club pals but I'm pretty sure I pronounced it incorrectly. Try saying it out loud, it's tricky! In case you have not yet heard, it's an internationally recognized challenge to try out being vegan for the month of January. Though I'm not participating, as January is already hard enough IMO, I have decided to add a few new vegan recipes to my rotation.
Let's just start with the title. Doesn't the promise of a gravy pie just tug at your heart strings? Um, yes please. I would like to eat a gravy pie for dinner on a chilly winter night. There really isn't anything to not love about this particular recipe; it's fairly straight forward, it doesn't take very long to make, it's cozy and rich with many layers of texture and flavour, it can feed a crowd, and it makes excellent leftovers.
The recipe comes from one of my favourite food blogs, The First Mess. If you're looking for more vegan recipes or just want to drool over excellent food photography you should check it out. Note that she wrote the recipe in such a way that you use fewer pots and pans, which means you cook in stages, I prefer the faster, messier method of getting it done in half the time while dirtying every dish in my house - either way works.
I served this gravy pie to my book club, with a side of California chickpea salad. We rounded out the menu with some aquafaba chocolate mousse. The chickpea salad was good, though I think I went a little heavy on the chickpeas. The chocolate mousse was shockingly good. I had very low expectations; you would too if it was your first time learning about or cooking with aquafaba (liquid from the bean or chickpea can). Note that I didn't follow that mousse recipe very closely, I used 1 1/2 cups aquafaba, about 200 grams dark chocolate, and 2 Tbsp maple syrup, otherwise I followed the cooking method. I would definitely make the mousse again.
MUSHROOM GRAVY PIE WITH GARLICKY KALE MASHED POTATOES
NOTES: To make this soy-free, use coconut aminos instead of the tamari soy sauce.
-If you’re feeling it and your dish is deep enough, this pie can handle double the amount of potatoes ;)
-You could use brown lentils in place of the French ones here. Alternatively, if you don’t have lentils on hand, you could use 1 ½ cups of whatever cooked pulse you like. White beans would be so good!
-Corn starch substitutes perfectly for the arrowroot powder as our thickener here.
-Use whatever mushrooms you like. I went for a mix of cremini, shiitake & portobello.
-If you’re using mixed dried herbs, go with half the amount specified (1 tablespoon).
-If you don’t have a glass baking dish, metal or corningware is also fine! As long as it’s oven-safe and at least 2 inches deep.
2 cups chopped and packed kale (about 6-7 stems-worth)
½ cup dry French lentils, rinsed
1 ⅓ lbs (585 grams) yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons unsweetened non-dairy milk, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 small cooking onion, small dice
2 tablespoons minced, fresh hearty herbs (I used a mix of sage, thyme & rosemary)
2 ¼ lbs (1020 grams) mixed mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Drop the kale into the water and simmer until kale is just-wilted and bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, retrieve the kale and place it in a small bowl. Run some cold water over it before squeezing all of the excess moisture out. Set aside.
Drop the lentils into the saucepan of boiling water. Cook until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Lightly wipe out the saucepan. Add the diced potatoes and one of the peeled garlic cloves to the saucepan. Cover the potatoes with cold water and place the saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat. Bring the potatoes to a boil and then simmer until very tender, about 18-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes.
In a food processor, combine the drained potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the non-dairy milk, and plenty of salt & pepper. Run the food processor’s motor on high until the potatoes have a smooth and mashed texture. Transfer the mashed potatoes to a medium bowl. Roughly chop the cooked kale and fold it into the potatoes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass baking dish with olive oil and set it on a baking sheet.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the pot and saute until slightly soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Mince the remaining garlic cloves and add them to the pot along with the herbs. Stir until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms and stir. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and let it sit for 2 minutes.
After two minutes, remove the lid and season the mushrooms with pepper. Stir. Place the lid on and let the pot sit for another two minutes.
The mushrooms should have reduced in volume by at least a third at this point. Add the cooked lentils to the pot. Stir the mushroom and lentil mixture and then add the balsamic vinegar, tamari, and tomato paste to the pot. Stir and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Season the mushrooms liberally with salt at this point.
Add the vegetable stock to the pot and stir. Bring the mushrooms to a boil. In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot powder and remaining 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk to combine. Add the arrowroot slurry to the pot and stir. Let the mushrooms simmer until the surrounding liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Pour the mushrooms and gravy into the prepared glass baking dish. Dollop the mashed potatoes on top, and then gently spread them over the entire surface of the mushrooms with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Drizzle the pie with olive oil and sprinkle with some black pepper. Carefully transfer the pie to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbling and the potatoes are lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove the mushroom gravy pie from the oven and let it sit for a minute or two before serving.