This rich, creamy mushroom pot pie is topped with a flaky, tender puff pastry crust. Vegetarian pot pie is an excellent option if you’re seeking a hearty, meat-free entree for holiday gatherings or special occasions. It’s a satisfying vegetarian meal that’s baked in single-serving ramekins.
During Phase II of culinary school, we occasionally had guests instructors. Without a doubt, the most memorable teacher for me was Shirley O. Corriher. Shirley is a food scientist who was often featured on early seasons of Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Hardly a major celebrity, but I was smitten.
When she began talking about umami, it was hard not to notice our chef instructor smirking in the back of the classroom. Not one to stray from classic French technique, Chef had made it abundantly clear that he believed umami was a joke, and our guest instructor was contradicting him.
He began interjecting snide remarks, and Shirley’s responses were light hearted and charming. It was her lesson and she owned it. I loved her. Despite what my Phase II chef believed, umami is legit.
What is Umami?
Translated from Japanese, the word literally means a “pleasant savory taste.” I once took a class where we sampled various soy and tamari sauces to compare umami levels. Umami has its own receptors that aren’t related to the traditionally recognized taste receptors, so scientists now consider it to be a distinct taste.
In addition to soy sauce, good sources of umami include (but are not limited to) cheese, cured meats, broths, fish (and fish sauce), tomatoes, seaweed, fermented products, and mushrooms. Adding umami to recipes is an excellent way to replace the “meaty” savoriness that’s lacking in many vegetarian and vegan recipes. Mushrooms are a perfect main ingredient in vegetarian pot pie.
Tips for Mushroom/Vegetarian Pot Pie
- If you’re not vegetarian, you can use a chicken stock in place of the vegetable stock to add even more umami. Caramelizing the mushrooms in the first step intensifies the savoriness.
- I’ve used crimini mushrooms, but any variety will work in this recipe. Shiitakes, portobellos, oysters, button mushrooms… you can also try using a mix.
- The truffle oil is optional, but I recommend it. I’ve used such a small amount that it won’t overwhelm the other flavors. In fact, you will barely notice the flavor, but it creates a subtle, worthy enhancement.
- You can omit the alcohol from the recipe. A dry white wine is also a good substitute for brandy.
More Vegetarian Entrees
Mushroom Pot Pie
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, divided
- 12 ounces mushrooms (about 4 cups), quartered (I used crimini, see notes)
- 2 cups yellow onion (about 1 large), finely chopped
- 3/4 cup celery (about 3 ribs), finely chopped
- 1 cup carrots (about 1 small/medium), finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon brandy (a dry white wine such as chardonnay can be substituted, see notes)
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable or mushroom stock, either homemade or low-sodium
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- optional: 1/2 teaspoon good quality white truffle oil
- leaves from 3 springs of thyme
- 1/4 cup packed flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat, then add 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms along with a pinch of salt and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring periodically, to soften and release some of their natural liquid. Turn the heat up to medium and brown the mushrooms for several minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, set aside, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Melt the remaining butter and add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for 5-7 minutes until soft, stirring periodically, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Stir in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the brandy, stock, paprika, and cooked mushrooms.
- Bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, stirring periodically, for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and remove from the heat. Add the truffle oil (if using), thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste; add more seasoning if desired.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Divide the filling into four 8-ounce ramekins (approximately 4x2 inches) and place on a baking sheet.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry thin and cut 4 rounds approximately 1/2 - 1 inch larger than the width of the ramekins. Brush egg wash on the rim of each ramekin and 1/2 inch down the sides. Top with the puff pastry, folding the excess over and gently pressing it against the ramekins (a fork can also be lightly pressed against the puff to help seal it to the dish). Brush the top of the dough with egg wash and use a small knife to poke 3 small holes in the top of each pot pie.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Allow to cool briefly before serving.
More Vegetarian Entrees
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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