Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Circle B Kitchen

Adapted from a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp

1 cup very hot water

1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

1/3 cup red wine

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into large dice

5 Tablespoons unsalted butter

2 portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean and chunked or sliced

1 lb cremini mushrooms, stemmed and halved

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

3 medium celery stalks, finely chopped

5 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

2/3 cup whole milk

Place the dried porcinis in the hot water and let sit for about 30 minutes. Strain the mushrooms out (reserve) and whisk in the wine, tomato paste and flour until evenly combined and smooth.

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with heavily salted water by 2 inches. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.Heat the oven on broil and place a rack in the upper third.

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a 3 to 4-quart Dutch oven (or oven-ready saucepan) over medium-high heat. When it foams, add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and set aside. Repeat to cook off remaining mushrooms.

Return pan to stove over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter, onion, and garlic, and cook until softened and golden, about 2 minutes. Add the herbs, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the wine mixture to the pan and deglaze by stirring and scraping up any browned bits.

Let cook until simmering and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in reserved mushrooms and any juices that have accumulated and simmer until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve in pan.

When potatoes are ready, drain well. Return to pan and mash until uniformly smooth. Fold in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and milk, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If necessary, keep warm over low heat.

Dot potatoes over the mushroom mixture and spread to edges of pan to cover completely. Rough up the surface of the potatoes so there are bits that will get browned and crunchy. Bake until top is golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.