• Clare McElhatton

Leek, mushroom and chestnut pie

- with a hot water crust pastry that's quick and easy to work with. This recipe is vegan but can be made with dairy alternatives. Toasted cashew nuts can be used instead of chestnuts if they are not available- or just double the mushrooms.


· 1 large leek

· 250g mushrooms (button, chestnut etc.)

· A few sprigs of thyme

· 100g roasted and peeled chestnuts

· 1 tbsp plain flour

· 250ml plant milk (e.g. oat, soya)

· 1 tsp stock powder or 1 stock cube

· Nutritional Yeast

· Black pepper

· Truffle oil (optional)

For the pastry

· 110g cold vegan hard fat (e.g. Flor plant-based butter, Vegan Block, trex etc.)

· 500g plain flour

· 250g water

· 1 tsp salt (optional)

· Dijon mustard


For the filling:

Prep the vegetables:

1. Cut the leek in half lengthways and then into slices. Keep the dark green tops separate to the pale green/white bottom.

2. Wash the leek slices well to get rid of any dirt between the layers.

3. For the mushrooms, remove any dirt with a paper towel or clean cloth. Remove the stalks and slice thinly. Cut the mushroom in half (if they are small, leave whole).

4. Wash the thyme stalks


For the sauce:

1. In a little oil & salt, sweat the dark green leek tops for 3 minutes before adding the rest of the leek. Add a splash of water if the leeks start to stick or burn. Add the mushroom stalks and thyme.

2. Keep cooking on a medium heat, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes.

3. Carefully remove the thyme.

4. Add 1 tbsp of plain flour to the leeks and stir through, cooking for 2 minutes. Make sure there is enough oil or fat to coat the leeks and the flour.

5. When the flour has cooked out, add 250ml of plant milk. Bring to the boil (this will only take a minute).

6. Stir in 1 tsp of stock and 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast and leave the sauce aside.

7. For the mushrooms, heat a large frying pan before adding oil and heating through. When the oil shimmers and starts to move, add the mushrooms. Space the out across the pan.

8. Leave the mushrooms to cook on one side for 5 minutes, before turning over for another 5 minutes.

9. Once the mushrooms are browned, season with salt & pepper

10. Add the mushrooms to the leek sauce. Also add the chestnuts (kept whole or cut in half).

11. If using, drizzle in a little truffle oil.

12. Add plenty of black pepper. Taste- it probably won’t need any salt due to the stock but add more salt, pepper or truffle oil as you like.

13. Leave to cool the put in the fridge to ensure it is properly chilled.


For the pastry & pie:


1. In a food processor, or by hand, mix the fat into the flour to a ‘breadcrumb’ texture or so the fat is evenly distributed in the flour. Place in a large bowl. Add the salt at this stage if using.

2. Add the water to the pan and bring to the boil.

3. When the water has boiled, pour over the flour & fat. Quickly mix together with a wooden spoon. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead it on a work surface for a minute or so until soft and smooth.

4. Leave the dough in a bowl with a lid (or wrapped in cling film) for 20 minutes.

5. Roll 2/3 of the dough onto a work surface (it shouldn’t need flour) to 2mm thick. Line a 24cm pie dish, or 2 individual pie tins.

6. Fill the pie with the chilled filling.

7. Roll out the remaining 1/3 of the pastry to make a pie lid. Place on top of the filling and crimp the edges (by pinching with your fingers or with a fork)

8. Make a small incision in the lid to allow steam to escape.

9. The pie can be baked straight away or left to chill in the fridge for a few hours before baking.

10. To bake: brush the pie with a mixture or plant-milk & Dijon mustard. Bake at 200°C for 45 minutes or until the pastry has browned and become crisp (so it may take a little longer). The timings will also depend on the size of the pie dish.

11. Serve with greens and plenty of mustard to cut through the richness of the filling.

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Manchester Urban Diggers are urban community market gardeners based in Greater Manchester where we are making spaces for people to grow food.

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