A good mushroom held in ones hand can make you feel connected to the very earth itself.
Finding mushrooms at a good farmers market and turning them over to reveal perfectly undamaged gills lined up straight and tall like the pages of a book, make me marvel at their beauty. If the button mushroom was a prince, then the portobello mushroom would be his King, and a box full of them is like a wonderland of food possibilities.
Accompanying the box of oriental mushroom varieties I received from the Australian Mushroom Growers recently (which led to this Oriental Mushroom Soup with Egg ‘Noodles’) was another larger box filled to the brim with purely perfect portobellos (alliteration lovers unite).
If I were a vegetarian and mushrooms didn’t exist, I am convinced that I would be prone to bouts of binge eating. There is a meatiness to mushrooms that sate my hunger in the way that other vegetables don’t. Tell a meat eater that they will be served a vegetarian pie for dinner, and they will likely pry open the fridge to earmark what they can snack on after the pie has been devoured. Well, that’s what happened in my household when these Mushroom and Cavolo Nero Hand Pies were announced as dinner fare.
But, after sitting down to eat the pies, a short nod of approval was shot my way later with a statement that my meat eater was satisfied. You can chalk that one up to the mushrooms.
I would have liked to try more portobello mushroom recipes… however, these hand pies (and a simpler large pie version) have been made a number of times for dinner upon request from the meat eater which rapidly diminished my precious mushroom supply. The memory of the portobello filled box might seem like a distant dream, but the look of satisfaction on our faces proves that it existed.
Mushroom and Cavolo Nero Hand Pies
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 1 leek, white part finely sliced
- 600 g portobello mushrooms, cleaned and diced
- 250 ml chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
- 200 g thickened cream
- 100 ml dry white wine
- 100 g cavolo nero (or kale), shredded
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped continental parsley
- 375 g all-butter puff pastry (I use the Careme brand)
- 1 egg, beaten
Heat a large, heavy based fry pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the butter over medium high heat. Add the leek and saute for 5-7 minutes until translucent. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the pan, and cook the mushrooms, while stirring, for 3-5 minutes. Tip the leek back into the pan with the mushrooms, add stock, wine and lots of salt and pepper and simmer rapidly for 8 minutes (until the liquid has reduced down to 1/3 of the original volume). Add the cream and the cavolo nero, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once a very thick sauce is left in the pan, add the parsley, season to taste and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, cut the pastry into circles using a large chef ring 10 cm in diameter. Once cool, place large tablespoons full of the mushroom mixture into the middle of each circle. Taking a pastry brush, brush the remaining pastry surrounding the mixture with egg and gently fold together the edges into a crescent shape. Secure the edges by pressing down with the tines of a fork.
Preheat oven to 200° Celsius.
Transfer the hand pies to one or two baking trays lined with baking paper. Make a slit in the top of each hand pie (to release the steam as it bakes), brush the tops with the remaining egg and bake for 20 minutes until the pastry is golden.
* If you would prefer to make one large pie instead of taking the time to make hand pies, then just place the mixture in the base of a large pie dish and top with the all-butter puff pastry and bake till golden (as below)
Chew Town was not paid to develop this recipe, but was gifted the Mushrooms from the Australian Mushroom Growers, with thanks. If you would like to learn more about Australian mushrooms visit the website . If you are in Australia, share a photo of your mushroom meal when dining out during July and tag #MushroomMania2014 and you could win $100 to dine out on them! To read Chew Town’s disclosure policy please visit the About page.