With a gouda cheese-filled, cornmeal biscuit topping and an earthy mushroom and lentil filling, I couldn’t pass up this pot pie. These were in the November issue of Bon Appetit, and there’s something irresistible about individual pot pies. You get to break into the crust, watch the steam escape, and then dig into your own little bowl of comfort food. I liked that these came with just a top crust which stayed nicely crisp while sealing off the bowls. And, the biscuit dough couldn’t have been easier to make. With the cornmeal in it, it was very easily handled, and it was simply divided into four pieces that were patted into rounds to cover the filling. The vegetarian filling here was hearty and full-flavored with the use of dried mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, potatoes, and lentils. The varied textures and rich and satisfying flavors made this recipe one for the permanent file.
Although there a few steps to putting these together, those steps can be done a little at a time. For instance, you could cook the lentils two days in advance, then you could finish preparing the filling the next day, store it in the refrigerator already portioned into bowls, and top it with the biscuit dough the day after that. Once you have cooked lentils, you move on to re-hydrating dried porcini, and you should measure the water that’s used to re-hydrate them because it’s added to the filling mixture later. To start the filling, fresh, sliced mushrooms were sauteed in olive oil with carrots, sage, and thyme. Garlic was added followed by flour. After a roux was formed with the flour, the porcini soaking liquid was stirred into the mixture. The soaked and chopped porcini were added with potato chunks, some soy sauce, and a little tomato paste. All of that simmered until the potatoes were tender. The filling was divided among four oven-proof bowls. As I mentioned, the biscuit topping was very easy to make. Flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt were combined, and butter was worked into the mixture. Buttermilk brought the dough together, and then I added some shredded aged gouda into the dough. The dough was cut into four pieces, and each piece was simply patted into a circle to fit into each bowl. Last, the remaining shredded cheese was sprinkled on top of each pot pie. They baked for about 30 minutes.
Mushrooms and lentils may not be pretty food, but the flavor with dried porcini and the boosts from soy sauce and tomato paste made up for the homely look. And, the flakey biscuit layer rich with aged gouda was a delicious cloak for the filling. In fact, that top biscuit layer got me thinking that pot pies should make occasional summer appearances because a filling of sweet corn and zucchini would be great under it too.