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In the Kitchen With: Liberty Browne’s Mushroom and Leek Pie

by Kristina Gill

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Though I still enjoy a nice hamburger a few times a year, I have moved from regular red and white meat consumption to a primarily fish- and vegetable-based diet. Sites like Melbourne-based Homespun Capers by Liberty Browne have been instrumental in making this transition attractive and delicious. Liberty focuses on whole food, plant-based recipes. She uses a vast variety of ingredients which keeps her food interesting, and she offers a range of sweet and savory dishes. This week’s Mushroom, Leek, and Thyme Rösti Pie is a filling winter dish with great textures and flavors that everyone can enjoy, and it’s a cinch to put together. It also lends itself well to seasonal variations, making it a perfect recipe to keep in your arsenal year-round. —Kristina

Why Liberty loves this recipe: This cold-weather pie is comforting without being too heavy, and creamy despite being dairy-free. Though there is plenty of umami and earthiness from the mushrooms, leeks, garlic and thyme, the filling is surprisingly bright from the addition of dijon mustard and lemon zest. I love that this pie is topped with a potato rösti crust: it is deliciously crispy and a great contrast to the creamy leeks. Plus, it wont to send you to sleep the way mashed potatoes might!

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Mushroom, Leek and Thyme Rösti Pie

Serves 6

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

– 850g | 1.87lb mushrooms (I use cremini and portobello), cut into .5cm | 1/4 inch slices
– 5 tablespoons olive oil
– 450g | 1lb leeks, halved length-wise and cut into 1cm | 1/2 inch slices and washed thoroughly
– 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
– 20g | a small bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked (+ more to serve)
– 120ml | 1/2 cup vegetable stock
– 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder (starch)
– 1.5 tablespoons dijon mustard
– zest of half a lemon
– 2 teaspoons lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon of sea salt + more to taste
– black pepper, to taste
– 500g | 1.1lb all-purpose red skinned potatoes (Desiree, Pontiac, Red Rascal, etc.)

Preparation

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, fry half the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of olive oil till they are mostly cooked and just starting to release liquid, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Repeat with remaining mushrooms and set aside.

2. In the same pan over medium-high heat, fry the leeks with another tablespoon of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until soft and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme leaves, and cook for a further 1 min, till fragrant.

3. Set your oven to 220C | 430F.

4. Add the cooked mushrooms and any of their accumulated liquid back to the pan, along with the vegetable stock and arrowroot powder. Stirring well, cook till the liquid is mostly evaporated, leaving a rich gravy — about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the dijon mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. Taste and season with more salt, if desired, and plenty of black pepper. Set aside.

5. Peel the potatoes and grate coarsely using a box grater. Place the grated potato in a bowl lined with a clean kitchen towel. Wrap up the towel and squeeze the potatoes firmly to remove as much water as possible. Once dry to the touch, move the grated potato to another bowl and dress with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and another 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss well till evenly coated.

6. Transfer the leek and mushroom filling to an oven-proof dish approximately 23cm | 9 inches wide, smoothing the filling to an even layer. Sprinkle the grated potato on top, leaving a small gap around the edges of the dish. Leave the potato rough and don’t compress it — this will encourage a crispy texture. Bake on the top shelf of your oven for 30-35 minutes, or till the potato is golden and crisp, and the filling is bubbling around the edges.

7. Serve scattered with more fresh thyme leaves and flaky sea salt, if desired. Serve with a zippy green salad or lemony cooked greens.

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About Liberty: Liberty Browne is a food photographer, recipe developer and blogger at Homespun Capers — a collection of whole food, plant-based recipes. She loves experimenting with alternative grains and sweeteners, and creating recipes that just “happen to be” meat-free. She contributes to a variety of publications including Low Sugar Living Magazine, the Bank of Melbourne Social Feeds cookbook, and Loving Earth, among others. She lives in inner-city Melbourne, Australia with her partner and a rather large collection of cookbooks. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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