There is something comforting about pie and gravy. These vegetarian puff pastry turnovers and mushroom gravy made meat irrelevant. Big rich complex flavours. Truly delicious.
Eating a good meat pie can be a very satisfying experience, even the French-inspired Vietnamese version, pâté chaud (bánh pa tê sô). But as a flexitarian, I seldom eat or cook with meat. I wanted to create a dish that satisfied those meat pie and gravy cravings, yet without the meat. These puff pastry turnovers more than achieved that goal. It really was better than any meat pie I have ever had.
I was not trying to emulate meat with the lentil, stout, and mushroom filling, and it certainly didn’t taste meaty. It did inherit distinct earthy characters from the lentils and mushrooms, beautifully complimented by chocolate and coffee notes from the stout. Lentils are such a healthy and versatile ingredient. Found this great website with lots of information about and tips for using lentils.
Although mushrooms were a key ingredient in the gravy, the taste of the gravy was distinctly different from the lentil, stout, and mushroom filling, yet a perfect compliment. The use of dried porcini mushrooms and Marmite brought the sort of earthy umami intensity a good gravy should have.
Marmite vs. Vegemite
I don’t want to get into the Vegemite vs Marmite thing. I like them both, though Vegemite holds its consistency better in a tropical climate. Use the one that you like the most.
And finally, the mash. This mash uses sweet potatoes (more healthy than the standard variety) and cauliflower. I love truffles, so added some truffle oil and finely diced shaved truffle that I picked up at Victoria Market in Melbourne. If truffles aren’t your thing, or you cannot obtain that ingredient, try finely diced shallots, or a few cloves of roasted garlic, or simply fresh parsley and butter.
Vegetarian puff pastry turnovers with mushroom gravy
Lentil stout and mushroom turnovers
- 2 small onions
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 cloves black garlic or 3 more cloves of raw garlic
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 150 g crimini or portobello mushrooms finely diced
- 1 cup brown lentils dried
- 3 cups water
- 1 bottle stout 350 ml, Guiness will work too.
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp cornflour
- Pastry I used frozen flaky pastry dough from the supermarket
- Whisked egg to glaze
Mushroom gravy (makes 1 cup)
Lentil stout and mushroom turnovers
- Rinse the lentils and remove any stones or other debris.
- Add to a saucepan with the 3 cups of water, one of the onions (halved), 4 cloves garlic (crushed with the side of a knife but still in one piece), and the bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are edible but still quite firm. They will cook some more in the next step. Strain, removing the onions, garlic, and bay leaves.
- Finely dice the other onion and remaining garlic cloves if using raw garlic as opposed to black garlic.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sauté the onions and garlic until soft.
- Add the finely diced mushrooms and sauté until softening.
- Add the lentils, stout, tomato paste, diced black garlic (if using), salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 40 minutes. The liquid should reduce and thicken a bit.
- Combine cornflour with a Tbsp of water and add to the saucepan, stirring to combine well, cooking for 10 more minutes.
- Allow to cool. The mixture should further thicken as it cools.
- Pre heat your oven to 180 degC.
- Roll and cut the pastry into circles about 15-18cm in diameter.
- Apply some whisked egg around the edge of the circle then.
- Add a good dollop of the lentil mixture to one side of the centre line of the pastry round, then fold it over and press the edges together. Apply more whisked egg to the top off the turnover.
- Bake the turnovers for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cooking time will depend on your oven. I needed to put the tray in the lower third shelf so that the bottoms were cooked as the tops browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.
Mushroom marmite gravy
- Finely dice the onion, garlic, and the red pepper.
- Sauté the onion, garlic, and red pepper in 20 g butter until soft.
- Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until soft and starting to brown.
- Add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, and dried porcini.
- Add in the trimmings from the greens (ie the asparagus and broccoli stalks)
- Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
- Dissolve the Vegemite in a few tablespoons of the mushroom stock, then add back to the pot.
- Strain the mushroom Vegemite stock through a fine strainer (the dried porcini mushrooms would likely have deposited some grit).
- Rinse and dry the pan, then melt the 30 g butter for the roux.
- Whisk in the flour.
- Slowly add the mushroom Vegemite stock, whisking all the time.
- Bring back to a simmer and check for a gravy consistency. If it is too thick, add some water or more veggie stock. If it is too thin, dissolve 1 tsp cornflour in a Tbsp water and stir that into the gravy.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Truffled mash and greens
- Peel and dice the sweet potato
- Remove the cauliflower leaves and coarsely chop the cauliflower.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the sweet potato, cauliflower, and salt.
- Boil until the vegetables are sufficiently tender to mash.
- Drain the vegetables and mash together with the truffle oil or butter.
- Stir in the finely diced shaved truffle (if using).
- When serving, drizzle with a little more truffle oil or dab with a little truffle butter.