I think the thing I like best about Meatless Monday is that it comes at just the right time. Monday evening is when some of us need a hearty helping of veggies to undo some of the weekend’s damage; indeed, I spent the bulk of mine throwing back rich dishes and cocktails in between naps.
Today’s Meatless Monday dish is meaty in spite of itself. It’s filled with garlicky mushrooms, rosemary, leeks, and just enough red wine. It’s topped with potatoes whipped with eggs, cream, and olive oil. And then it’s baked until the potatoes are golden and the mushroom sauce has bubbled up around the sides. Use a variety of mushrooms, if possible; I used regular white mushrooms, a couple of fat portabellas, and a few oyster mushrooms, but feel free to use whatever’s available to you. Be sure to scrape the gills from the portabellas before cooking (if using), and chop these into cubes.
It’s rich and satisfying, fragrant and delicious; it’s the sort of thing you could serve to a ravenous meat-eater and he wouldn’t know there wasn’t a spot of beef in it. Even the cat was interested, and she won’t give a sniff to anything that isn’t 95% protein.
Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
(Serves four to six.)
- 2 lbs. Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. heavy cream, divided
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 shallot, minced (about 2 tbsp.)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped leek (white and light-green part only, about two medium leeks)
- 2 1/2 lbs. mushrooms, assorted varieties if possible
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- Salt to taste, if needed
Boil potatoes in a large pot of water until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and mash until almost no chunky bits remain, then whip in parmesan cheese, two tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 cup of cream, and two eggs. Taste and add salt as needed; I chose not to add salt, as the parmesan lent sufficient seasoning. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil and the butter over medium-high heat until butter begins to bubble and foam. Stir in shallots and garlic, sautéeing for two minutes until translucent. Add leeks, and saute until shallots have melted down and no longer hold their round shape, about three minutes.
Meanwhile, again, chop mushrooms. It is not necessary that the mushrooms be of uniform size; different sizes will allow the mushrooms to achieve varying textures, which is ideal. Add mushrooms and rosemary to pan, stirring to coat in fat. Allow to sweat, but do not salt the mushrooms. It will take about five minutes, with occasional stirring, but the mushrooms will release their liquid and it will be awesome.
Once mushrooms have sweat and wilted, about five minutes, sprinkle flour over top of the mushrooms and mix until flour disappears. Add wine, soy sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and allow to thicken slightly, two to three more minutes. Stir in parsley and cream, and taste, adjusting seasonings as needed.
Remove mushrooms from heat and pour into a 1 1/2- to 2-quart casserole dish. Top with mashed potato mixture, spreading to cover completely.
Place in oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until potatoes are golden on top and mushroom sauce is bubbling out from around the sides.
Serve hot from the oven. If you have leftovers, this dish is even better the second day, when the flavours, especially the rosemary, garlic, and pepper steep and meld together. Nick can’t wait for lunch tomorrow, and I am looking forward to the smell of this scenting my office. Yum!
PS – check out my recipe for Huevos Rancheros on the Meatless Monday website!