Chestnut Mushroom Pasties with Gravy

Vegetarian food doesn’t come any better than this. Hot Water Crust pastry, easy to make, easy to roll out, doesn’t split and one quarter of the fat of puff pastry. The filling – hearty, tasty and one you will want to make again and again. The pasties and gravy freeze well (the pasties unbaked) so a great quick option when you are pushed for time.


Start by making the pastry.
Place the flour in a roomy bowl, add the salt then make a well to one side and drop in the egg yolk. Cover the yolk with flour then make a well at the other side of the bowl.
Place the measured water and fat into a small saucepan and melt over a low heat then bring to a fast boil. Immediately pour over the flour, aiming for the second well in the flour.
I use a wooden fork to then stir everything together to a scraggy dough then once cool enough to handle knead briefly to a fairly smooth dough. Pop back into the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to cool completely then transfer to the fridge to chill and firm up for at least an hour.

To make the filling:
In a roomy saucepan bring one litre of water with salt to the boil then plunge the chestnut mushrooms into the water and blanche for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to dry. Blanching the mushrooms in this way helps them to retain their flavour when fried whilst adding a base colour to the stock which will be used for the gravy.
Take the pan off the heat and drop in the dried porcini mushrooms if using and leave for 10 minutes. Take from the water and add to the mushrooms in the colander. Don’t throw away the cooking water!

Prep the vegetables for the filling and the onion that will be used for the gravy.
Pop all the peelings into the pan of mushroom liquid, bring back to the boil and allow to simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until reduced in volume by about half.
Take from the heat and set aside – leave the veggies in the water – they will be strained out later.

Use a large frying pan or saucepan and heat the 2 tbsp oil. Add the finely chopped onion and cook well, until a medium golden brown then add the garlic, celery, carrot and herbs and fry for five minutes until just beginning to soften.
Whilst this is happening finely chop the mushrooms, porcini and cooked chestnuts then add to the pan and stir well, increasing the heat so that the mushrooms fry dark and glossy. Fry for five minutes or so then reduce the heat to the lowest. You may see caramelisation on the base of your pan which is great (flavour !!), that will deglaze once the stock is added.

Add salt and pepper along with the cornflour, nutmeg and brown sauce, stir well then take just 80ml liquid stock from the pan with the peelings and stir this into the vegetables. The base of the pan will clean and the caramelised bits will be incorporated into your gorgeous filling. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, stir through the cream then transfer to a cold bowl and set aside. Once cold stir in the grated cheese and chill until ready to use.

To make the 500ml gravy:
In the same pan used to make the filling add the oil and the butter and heat gently then fry the finely chopped onion until well coloured (colour means flavour).
Strain the pan of stock into a large jug and put the veggie trimmings onto the compost heap.
Add to the onion the flour, cornflour, sugar, stock cube, dried herbs, salt, pepper, dried garlic and stir well before adding the stock, little by little. Stir first to a really thick paste then add more liquid, increase the heat, bring to the boil and add sufficient stock until you achieve a smooth dark thick gravy.
Taste and adjust the seasoning and if you prefer a smooth gravy then blitz with a hand blender.

To assemble the pasties:
Once chilled the dough is very easy to work with. Divide into six pieces then roll out thinly to a circle large enough to cut then use a 7 inch (18cm) tea plate as a template.

Fill each circle of pastry using 3 large tbsp. cold filling. Dampen the edges of the pastry with water then join together at the top or sides, crimping to seal completely.

Place the formed pasties onto a piece of paper or baking parchment then brush with egg wash before chilling or freezing.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and bake from chilled for 30 minutes and from frozen for 40 minutes and until a very dark glossy golden brown.
Serve hot with gravy poured over.

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