For those of you who are trying Veganuary or are interested in reducing the amount of meat in your diet, here's a recipe that we tried over Christmas. We hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!
15g/½oz dried mixed mushrooms
250ml/9fl oz just-boiled water
4 tbsp sunflower oil
300g/10½ oz shallots, peeled and cut in half if large (try and keep the root intact, so they keep their shape)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g/14oz mixed mushrooms, chestnut, button, shiitake, portabello, sliced or quartered if large
330ml/11fl oz pale ale (vegan) *Wold Gold, Angler’s, SFIPA, Hello Velo*
1 vegetable stock cube
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp cornflour mixed with 3 tbsp cold water
180g/6oz cooked and peeled chestnuts (vacuum packed is fine)
flaked sea salt and ground black pepper
For the vegan pastry
300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling
1 tsp fine sea salt
100g/3½oz sunflower oil
5-6 tbsp cold water
1 tbsp aquafaba (canned chickpea water) or plant-based milk, such as soya or almond milk
Put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour the just-boiled water over the top. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the shallots and onion over a medium heat for 10-12 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds more. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan and fry the mixed mushrooms for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Stir in the soaked mushrooms and their liquor, the ale, crumbled stock cube, tomato purée, redcurrant jelly, brown sugar, thyme and bay leaves. Add the shallots and onions back into the pan. Season with a good pinch of salt and lots of ground black pepper.
Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer and cook for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix the water with the cornflour in a small bowl until smooth, and stir into the mushroom mixture. Cook for 1–2 minutes or until the sauce thickens, stirring. Stir in the chestnuts and season to taste.
Spoon the mushroom mixture into a 1.5 litre/2½ pint pie dish and leave to cool before topping with pastry.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.
To make the pastry, mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the sunflower oil and rub into the flour first with a fork and then with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Don’t let the mixture come together in a ball, it should remain in damp, flaky pieces.
Add the cold water and mix with a fork and then your hands until the dough comes together and forms a smooth ball.
Dust a work surface with flour. Dust a rolling pin with a little more flour, then roll out the dough until around 7.5mm/⅜in thick. Cut a circle of pastry that is around 3cm/¼ in larger than the pie dish containing the filling. Reserve the trimmings for decoration.
Brush the rim of the pie dish with a little aquafaba or plant-based milk and place the pastry on top. Press the pastry edges firmly to seal and trim off any excess with a knife. Brush the pastry all over with aquafaba or milk.
Use the trimmings to make decorations for the pie. Brush with more aquafaba or milk.
Bake the pie for 45–50 minutes, or until the pastry is pale golden brown and the filling is hot. Serve with freshly cooked green vegetables and mash.