Vegetarian food is pretty uncomplicated. Well, it’s less complicated than non-vegetarian food anyway. I can remember sitting in high school cooking class and listening to my teacher rattle off a bunch of details on different ways of cooking meat, proper temperatures, stuff like that, and thinking “Awesome! There’s a bunch of things I don’t need to worry about.” These days I become most aware of how simple vegetarian cooking is when I adapt a recipe like this one. The original is described as a “weekend project.” My version, which uses mushrooms instead of beef, was more along the lines of a Saturday afternoon detour, with plenty of down time to clean up after myself.
While this isn’t exactly a meal that gets thrown together in minutes, you could manage it on a weeknight if you make the stew a day or so in advance. Be sure to thaw your puff pastry if you do make the stew ahead, and when you’re ready to bake, just roll it out, line your dish, fill, top and bake.
The resulting pot pie is totally delicious and just as impressive as the original. Cremini mushrooms give this bourguignonne stew lots of meaty texture and savory flavor. I upped the amount of whiskey and wine over the original recipe to add even more savory flavor, and threw in a bit of liquid smoke to make up for the omission of bacon. This is one of those dinners you could serve to guests and nobody would’ve ever guessed it was vegan.
Check the ingredients list on your puff pastry if you want to keep this vegan. Many (but not all) store bought brands are vegan, with Pepperidge Farm being one widely available vegan brand. You can make the stew a day or two in advance. Store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until the day of serving.
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