This weekend I visited Castlemaine Farmers Market and made out like a bandit! Castlemaine is small town an hour and half north-west Melbourne and was recently named the most vegan-friendly small town in Victoria. I had a great time filling my newly acquired boomerang bag (we were halfway there when I realised we forgot our reusable bags) with fresh local produce. There was also plenty of food vendors ready to sate our appetites then and there with crepes, Ethiopian food, laksa bowls, sandwiches and probably stuff I didn’t even see. All vegan, all delicious. I ended up starting my morning off with a banana and salted caramel crepe because I am literally incapable of walking past a crepe. Rob started his morning off with an Ethiopian breakfast made up of tomatoe-y bean wot, rice and bread. We then did some shopping and browsing. After making many trips to the car we decided to hit up the Ethiopian food truck (Konjo Mama) again to get some takeaway for lunch.
When I saw these mushrooms I had to get them, and truth be told, I’m not even a huge mushroom fan. But come on, just look at them. I then picked up some Jerusalem artichokes and just knew I had to put the two together.
In a previous blog post I mentioned that most store-bought pastries were actually vegan. Look, I realise, that having a food/recipe blog means I should probably make my own pastry but lets me honest, ain’t nobody got time for that. Plus, using pre-made pastry means I can focus on the filling and not stress about pastry. I do think making one’s own pastry is a worthwhile endeavour occasionally, but if you are short on time or motivation or both, then get on the frozen pastry train.
One thing that didn’t quite occur to me until far too late was that I am not gifted in the way of decorating pies. I honestly just don’t do it often enough. But whatever, it’s rustic, and you know what, the filling is delicious even if the pie itself wouldn’t exactly be deemed “insta-worthy“.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek thinly sliced
1 carrot finely diced
1 rib of celery finely diced
2 cups of mushrooms sliced
1 1/2 cups of Jerusalem artichokes peeled + diced in 1/2 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
1 small bunch of sage leaves
1 small handful of chives
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Brown Brothers Crouchen Savignon Blanc, FYI all Brown Brothers wines are vegan!)
4 tbsp vegan buttery spread (I use Nuttelex)
4 tbsp flour
2 cups almond milk
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt + pepper
1 sheet short crust pastry thawed
1 sheet puff pastry thawed
Spray oil or melted vegan butter to grease the pie dish
Almond milk to brush the top
Preheat your oven to 200⁰C
Place your diced Jerusalem artichokes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil for 15 minutes until tender, drain, then set aside.
While that is happening add your oil to a heavy bottom frying pan on a medium heat then add your leeks and a small pinch of salt. I like to season throughout the entire cooking process so don’t go overboard with it, just add a pinch to slightly leech the water out of the leeks as they cook.
After they have wilted down slightly (about 3 minutes), add in your celery and carrot, sauté on a medium low heat for another 3 minutes.
Then add in your sage, thyme and garlic. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are cooked thoroughly and slightly caramelised. Low and slow is the game. Don’t stress too much about any brown bits at the bottom of the pan, those will add extra flavour.
Once your vegetables are cooked and slightly caramelised turn the heat up to about medium high, let the pan get a bit hotter (about 20 seconds, pay attention so you don’t burn your vegetables) and add in your mushrooms and stir to combine. At this point you can start picking out the herbs as they have done their job. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to get all the bits of herbs, they are fine to eat (not like crunching down on an errant bay leaf or star anise), but they aren’t that necessary beyond this point.
Stir fry your mushroom and vegetable mixture for a couple of minutes then pour in your wine to deglaze the pan. Work quickly to scrap all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.
Once the pan is clean and the last of the wine is boiling off add in your Jerusalem artichokes and stir to combine.
Turn off the heat, then tip your vegetable mixture into a bowl and set aside while you make the roux.
Put the now empty frying pan back on a medium low heat and add in your buttery spread and allow it to melt.
Turn the heat down low and add in your flour one tablespoon at a time whisking constantly to get that flour coated in the melted butter. Continue whisking until you have a smooth mixture. Then add in the almond milk in small amounts, again, continually whisking.
Slowly incorporate the milk in until you have added the full amount. Now you can change back to a wooden spoon and continue stirring on a low heat allowing it to thicken and cook out the flour.
Now add your seasonings; plenty of black pepper, salt, dried thyme, and nutritional yeast.
Once your roux has thickened (approx 10 minutes of gentle heat and stirring) add your vegetable mixture back to the pan, turn off the heat and stir to combine. At this point taste and adjust your seasonings to your liking. Use scissors to cut your chives into small bits over the mixture then stir through.
Set this mixture aside while you prepare your pie dish.
Grease your pie dish with either spray oil or buttery spread.
Then lay your sheet of shortcrust pastry in and push it into fill the dish, remove any excess overhanging with a knife.
Grab a fork and prick some holes in the base of the pastry.
Now you can spoon in your vegetable filing.
Now lay the puff pastry piece over the top and crimp the sides down with a fork, removing any excess with a knife.
Prick the top with a fork so the steam can vent.
With a pastry brush, glaze the top of the pie with almond milk.
Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.