Last Night’s Dinner, Sunday Edition: Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies

This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for about a year.  To paraphrase Joey from Friends, “Mushrooms?  Good.  Lentils?  Good.  Gouda-biscuit topping?  Goooood.”*

It’s a pot pie, and it had a buttery-biscuit crust, topped with cheese… indulgent.  But it’s meatless and surprisingly filling without making you feel stuffed.  (I mean, we all had room for one or two servings of cherry pie afterwards.**)

It was a bit time-intensive, so it’s a good weekend project.  And the filling can be made two days in advance, so I prepared that on Saturday, which made Sunday a lot easier.  I followed it pretty closely, but with a few changes.  The original recipe calls for dried porcini mushrooms, but they were sold out, so I compromised with half lobster mushroom and half chanterelles.  No one complained.

I also soaked the dried mushrooms in a mixture of water and cooking sherry.  And I added shallots, because… well, why wouldn’t you use shallots??  My sister kept insisting I had added bacon- I credit the shallots and lobster mushrooms.

Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies (adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2010; original recipe here)

Filling:

1/2 cup lentils

1/4 tsp salt

1 oz dried mushrooms (such as porcini, chanterelle, lobster, or a combination)

1/2 cup cooking sherry

1 tbsp butter

6 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, cut into 1/4 inch-thick rounds

1 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary

1/4 tbsp fresh thyme

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 large shallot, minced

2 tbsp all purpose flour

2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch chunks

4 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp tomato paste

Topping:

1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour

6 tbsp yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp butter, chilled and diced

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup grated smoked Gouda

Preparation

Filling:

Combine 3 cups cold water, lentils, and salt in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender (about 25-30 minutes).  Drain and set lentils aside.

Boil 2 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup cooking sherry over dried mushrooms in a medium bowl.  Soak for 25 minutes.  Remove mushrooms from soaking liquid, squeeze dry and chop coarsely.  Make sure you reserve the soaking liquid!

Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add fresh mushrooms and saute about 3 minutes.  Add oil, onion, carrot, and herbs and saute 4 minutes.  Add garlic and shallots and saute for 30 seconds.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add the soaking liquid.  Stir in the (no-longer) dried mushrooms, potatoes, soy sauce, and tomato paste.  Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally (about 13-15 minutes).  Add lentils and season with salt and pepper.  Add a sprinkle of cumin and/or coriander if you’re feeling dangerous.  Divide filling among four 2-cup oven-proof bowls, or one larger dish.  (If you make this in advance, cover and refrigerate for up to two days.  Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Topping:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in food processor; blend 5 seconds.  Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.  Add buttermilk and pulse until dough forms moist clumps.  Gather dough into a ball and divide into four equal sections.  If you’re doing the individual bowls, shape each dough piece into a disk about 2/3-inch thick.  If you’re using one baking dish, spread them out in whatever way will cover the dish.  (I’m giving you some artistic freedom here.)

Bake for about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle on cheese and then continue baking for another 10 minutes or so, or until tester inserted into the biscuit topping comes out clean.

*Have I used that reference before?  It seems familiar but it might just be that I think about it a lot.

**Store-bought cherry pie.  Farm-bought, if you want to get technical about it.  But either way, yes, I purchased the pie. 

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