My preacher dad once had a parishioner friend who owned a mushroom farm. When dad headed over there to talk and hang out with the farmer, I’d tag along so I could duck into the cool, dark, growing rooms for a peek at the shy white mushrooms. I found it fascinating– those snowy-white globes peeking back at me, starkly contrasting with the black growing medium, all secreted away in those fusty old, ramshackle rooms. We’d buy a paper bag (or two) of the plump, just-picked rounds, come blinking back out into the sunshine and head home thinking just how we’d cook them later.
I don’t have access to those mushrooms any more, but still gravitate to the really fresh ones when I see them at the local produce market, farmers market or wherever. My family likes them best chopped and sauteed in butter/olive oil with onion (or leek), garlic, herbs, and a maybe a little very dry sherry, or some white wine. We roll a version of this mixture with a little cheese into Cheese Mushroom & Onion Enchiladas, or add spinach and make it into phyllo tartlet filling. We also like to mix sauteed sliced shiitakes and sweet onion into a creamy pot of vegetable-broth-steeped Mushrooms & Barley. But my light-veggie-lunch favorite? This cabbage, leek and mushroom pie, baked in a neufchatel cheese crust.
Makes 1, 10-inch pie
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen
- 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 oz (1/2 pkg) Neufchatel cheese (low-fat cream cheese)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp ice water
- 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3/4 head cabbage, sliced and chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- White of one large leek, sliced and chopped
- Salt and freshly-cracked pepper to taste
- 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb button or crimini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly cracked pepper
- 1 tsp tamari soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- Make crust: In food processor, pulse flour, salt and baking powder. Drop cream cheese in spoonfuls into flour mixture and pulse until texture of coarse crumbs. Add frozen butter and pulse until pastry is size of small peas. Pulse again until like cornmeal. Pulse in water and vinegar. Process until dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Remove dough onto square of plastic wrap. Gather up dough into a ball; divide in half; flatten dough into two disks. Wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Make filling: In saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add cabbage and cover, cooking until cabbage is tender and adding up to 1/4 cup water as needed. Stir in dill. Remove to a bowl. In saute pan, add first 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil and leek. Cook until soft adding small amount of water if needed. Mix leek into cabbage/dill mixture in bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Sprinkle with 3 Tbsp flour and mix in. (This will help the pie “set up” better, once baked–but if you don’t mind the veg juices and a looser pie, you don’t need this.) Set aside. In saute pan, add second 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil and mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms release liquid. Add soy sauce and sugar and cook until mixture is nearly dry. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble pie: Roll one dough disk out on floured surface. Ease into pie dish. Fill with cabbage/leek mixture. Spread seasoned/cooked mushrooms over the top.
- Position oven rack to center. Pre-heat oven to 375. Roll-out second pie crust. Place over pie and fold/crimp edges, cutting a few decorative slits on top to let steam out. Bake pie at 375 for 45 minutes.