Since I live with two guys who eat a lot more meat than I do, often times I’ll make three things for dinner: a salad, a hearty vegetable “side”, and baked salmon or chicken. Then I’ll just have the salad and vegetables. Don’t worry–I’m not subsisting on rabbit food. I’m talking about hearty dishes like Mark Bittman’s eggplant unparm or my new obsession, this roasted cauliflower with kimchi cream.
But sometimes I don’t want to prepare three different things. I want to make one dish that my whole family will happily eat. Enter: this mushroom pot pie. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a giant Cook’s Illustrated nerd. I read every issue cover to cover. I even have some of the back covers framed in my kitchen. One of my favorite CI recipes is for chicken pot pie with biscuits. Would it be possible to veganize it?
In a word, yes! Alex devoured two helpings at dinner and another the next day for lunch. He said it was even better than the original. I swapped cremini mushrooms for the chicken and used some dried porcinis as well, which pack loads of umami flavor. I also substituted almond milk for cow’s milk, and Earth Balance for the butter in both the filling and the biscuits. You can use any vegan butter/shortening you prefer.
I love this recipe because you can make everything ahead. I usually prepare the filling the night before and the biscuits in the morning (store them on a plate loosely wrapped in plastic in the fridge), and then just assemble and bake before dinner. It also freezes beautifully. If you have a small family like me, bake half in an 8×8-inch dish and freeze the rest (freeze the filling and biscuits separately).
Don’t be deterred by the long ingredient list. This recipe is actually vey easy and goes quickly. It would make a terrific fall or winter dinner party dish. I love the idea of serving something homey, comforting, and familiar when everyone is expecting something fancy and fussy. All you need is a simple green salad and some Champagne–it pairs great and really cuts through the richness of the filling.
Vegan Mushroom Pot Pie
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
For the biscuits:
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy milk)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons very cold Earth Balance vegan shortening, diced
For the filling:
1 (.7-ounce) package dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) crimini mushrooms, quartered
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 large carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and diced into 1/4-inch pieces
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and diced
4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan shortening
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or soy milk)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
To make the biscuits, stir the almond milk and lemon juice together in a measuring cup and set aside. In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt and pulse to combine. Add the Earth Balance and pulse until incorporated and the mixture looks like wet sand.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the almond milk-lemon juice mixture. Stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead a few times. Pat the dough out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut into 8 rounds using a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Transfer the biscuits to a plate, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate while you prepare the filling (biscuits can be made up to 24 hours ahead).
To make the filling, preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the dried porcinis in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let sit for 20 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Set the sieve and the bowl aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. Add the crimini mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are seared and no longer look raw, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to the sieve with the porcinis, allowing any accumulated juices to collect in the bowl with the porcini liquid.
Add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pot and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the carrots are completely fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
Add the Earth Balance to the pot. When melted, whisk in the flour and cook for one minute. Whisk in the milk, 2 cups of the reserved mushroom liquid, and the thyme. Bring the sauce to a simmer for one minute. Stir the sherry and peas. Stir in the mushrooms, vegetables, and parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If the filling is too thick, add a little more mushroom liquid or water, 1/4 cup at a time, until it loosens. (You might need to do this if you make the filling ahead of time and refrigerate it.)
Pour the filling into a 13×9-inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and top with the biscuits. Return to the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes, until the biscuits are puffed and golden and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.