Divine Mushroom, Lentil & Leek Pies

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I have no words to describe how amazing these little pies are. I have always loved the combination of mushrooms and leeks, but have never before thought of adding lentils to the mixture. And what a wonderful match they make! The veggies and lentils are sautéed in water and spices, then deglazed with Marsala wine. Then, they are gently mixed with a light cashew cream. The result is a beautiful, fragrant creamy filling, topped with scrunched up crispy filo pastry, which works wonders with its contrasting textures. Heavenly! And although they may look fancy, they are utterly simple to make.

Divine Mushroom, Lentil & Leek Pies

8 servings

Ingredients:

For the veggie mixture:

1tsp veggie stock powder

1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 large leeks, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

500g fresh, frozen or jarred mushrooms, roughly chopped*

480g cooked or tinned and drained lentils ( I used 2x240g drained tins)

2tbsp soy sauce

1tsp tarragon

1tsp dried coriander

1tsp sweet paprika

2/3 of a cup sweet Marsala wine

1/4 of a cup plant based yogurt (I used coconut)

Salt & pepper to taste

For the cashew cream:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes and drained

1/4 of a cup nutritional yeast

1 cup plant based milk

2tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 a tsp of salt

You will also need:

1 packet of filo pastry

A few sprays of olive oil

A dash of sweet paprika

5 lightly greased ramekins**

  • Preheat the oven to 190C.
  • In a large pan, add 1/2 a cup of water and the veggie stock powder. Stirring frequently, sauté the onion and the leeks, over low heat, for 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and continue to cook until liquids have evaporated. Add the lentils, the soy sauce and the spices and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes. Raise the heat and pour in the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan and keep stirring until the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should be moist but with almost no juices. Mix in the yogurt and turn the heat off. Check the seasoning and adjust to your liking.
  • To prepare the cashew cream, place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until very smooth.
  • Dollop the cashew cream over the veggie mixture and gently stir, until everything is nicely incorporated.
  • Open the filo pastry and unfold the sheets. Take a couple of sheets and cover the rest with a dampened kitchen towel, to keep them from drying out.
  • Cut each filo sheet into 4 squares and place 1 square in each greased ramekin. Leave the corners to protrude and flop around the rim. This does not have to be precise or anything.
  • Using a large spoon, fill the ramekins with the filling, allowing about 2cm space for the pastry.
  • Now take another couple of sheets of pastry and this time, cut each one in 16 (about 10cm) squares. Lightly spray each square with olive oil. Scrunch up 8 squares and place them side be side over the filling, covering the top of each ramekin. Again, this is not about being precise, have fun with the process!
  • Spray the pies with a little more olive oil, spine them with a dash of sweet paprika and place in the middle of the oven. They usually need about 15 to 20 minutes, but please watch them closely, as the delicate filo pastry can burn easily. Once they have nicely browned all over, they are ready to be taken out of the oven.
  • Serve with some steamed greens, or a lovely salad. Enjoy!

* I like to use frozen mushrooms because they are packed full of flavour and can be easily chopped using a food processor, without becoming mushy. However, any type and any version -fresh, jarred – will work wonderfully. You may also leave them sliced, or even whole for extra texture. I pulse them mainly because this way my children will not detect them.

** You can of course make a single bigger pie instead of individual ones. Simply follow the same technique, using a large greased ovenproof dish. Layer a couple of filo sheets to cover the bottom and the sides of the dish, then proceed with the filling and scrunched filo top layer. It will look quite impressive and can easily serve as a festive centrepiece for a special occasion.

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