Friday, November 11, 2011 Gardener's Pie
I wore myself out yesterday slaving over this Gardener's Pie. I walked down to the supermarket for ingredients (after doing my usual 3 miles for exercise) and walked back switching the overfilled bag from hand to hand asking my elbows to please stay attached.
I bought everything I needed, but I forgot to put some of them in the pie. This is why I'm up at 4AM - I just realized I left out the frozen veggie mix that cost me $3.50! (I was forced to buy fancy organic, the supermarket mixed veggies included Lima beans! Ick! Lima beans!) I also forgot to add the barley I'd planned to add for texture and fiber...whatever. It was damn tasty.
Here's a link to the picture set on Facebook.
I like to think it's self-explanatory, but here's a description just in case.
First off I started caramelizing one thinly sliced onion in a pan with a spot of butter and olive oil. Then I ground up 3/4ths of a bag of chips in a food processor with a splash of olive oil. I used reduced fat chips because I was trying to be healthy (ha!) and skipped the melted butter I usually use in this application. I wanted to save the butter for the potatoes.
Lookin' healthy so far, right? ;)
Push the potato chip crumbs into a pie pan forming a crust and bake for 5 minutes or so at 350.
While that's going on and the onions have started to color add a 10 ounce package of chopped up mushrooms to the pan. Stir that up and let it go for a while. If there's not enough moisture in the pan you can go ahead and add a little stock. All told I added about 1 1/2 cups of stock but it all cooked down so much there was just enough left for a good covering of gravy - not too much because you don't want it soupy. Maintaining the crunch of the crust isn't entirely possible, but you don't want to ruin your chances by adding too much liquid - then you're guaranteed mush.
Once that's started you can boil the potatoes - I used two of each and had a little left over. While they were cooking I added some cooked asparagus to the mushroom and onion filling and thickened the gravy with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch mixed in a spot of water. That's the spot where I forgot the barley, I'll have to try that again some day. I do use barley in my bean chili and it gives a nice texture that somewhat makes up for the fact there's no meat.
I suppose that's also where I missed the veggie mix - but I had plenty of filling for the size pie plate I was using. I carefully spooned most of the mixture into the pie, careful not to disturb the crust, and then used a rubber spatula to spread the rest of the gravy covered goodness evenly in the center of the pie.
Then I mashed the potatoes, keeping some of the water in each. What I should do is boil down the water and keep it for stock, there's still flavor in there, but I'm not that hardcore, yet. A spot of butter in each, a little salt - I loaded a piping bag with the white mash and made stripes at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock and then added another stripe in between, ending up with 8 stripes. Then I went in with the sweet potato mash and did zig-zags in between ending with a nice dollop in the center. Sprinkle with chips, bake for a bit. Make a little extra gravy in the same pan in you want... Outstanding. Even if I forgot a few ingredients. My husband said it was really good for something that didn't have any meat in it. So there. The caramelized onions and mushrooms are just killer and anything you want to add or forget to add to them is going to make your Gardener's Pie uniquely yours - and it'll taste awesome! No lie!