This recipe falls somewhere between the French vol-au-vent and the American potpie. The former is a small, nest-like confection of light-as-a-feather pastry dough filled with meat or seafood, reportedly invented in the early 19th century by Marie-Antoine Carême, the legendary chef and founder of French high cuisine. The latter conjures up homey visions of U.S. country cooking — a large, rustic tart was traditionally loaded with scraps of meat left over from previous meals. “Cup en croûte” — literally, a cup with a pastry crust — is our vegetarian twist on these two classics, its individual portions of savory pie served in wide latte mugs. Stocked with sautéed mushrooms, chestnuts, root vegetables, and fragrant herbs, and lightly bound with broth and crème fraîche, it’s an earthy, autumnal dish; it can be served as an appetizer before a meal of simply roasted meat or fish, or it can be the star attraction of a lunch or brunch buffet.
Any mushroom fresh from the farmers’ market will add depth to this dish.
Mushrooms have long been a staple of French cooking. When I was growing up on a farm near Lyon, we would pick a kind of mushroom called or rose of the field, which grew in the pastures where cows grazed. You can’t serve these wild mushrooms in restaurants because they don’t last much longer than overnight — you have to eat them perfectly fresh. “Cup en croûte” calls for more easily obtained, and sturdier, button and hen-of-the-woods varieties. But any kind of mushroom will work just as well to impart a delicate flavor and silky texture to this crispy-shelled, crowd-pleasing concoction.
Vegetable potpie takes on the delicate, fluffy crust of a French vol-au-vent. The fork is by .
Mushroom-And-Chestnut “Cup En Croûte”
Makes 4 appetizer servings
2 T butter
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 T dry white wine
1 turnip, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, peeled and diced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 T our
1⁄2 lb. white button mushrooms,
trimmed and cut into quarters
1⁄2 lb. hen-of-the-woods or oyster
12 chestnuts, roasted, peeled, and quartered,
or vacuum-packed and ready to eat
2 cups unsalted vegetable broth
5 leaves sage, chopped
6 sprigs parsley, leaves only, chopped
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1⁄4 cup crème fraîche
1 sheet frozen pu pastry, thawed
2 egg yolks, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large, deep sauté pan set over medium heat, melt the butter and add the shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent, without browning. Add the wine and let reduce completely, then add the turnip, carrot, and celery. Season with salt and white pepper and cook 5 to 8 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary to prevent browning. Dust with the our and cook another 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms, chestnuts, and broth. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the herbsand crème fraîche, then set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Select 4 coffee mugs to use as baking and serving vessels. Cut the puff pastry into 4 disks 1 inch wider than the mugs, so that they overlap the edges. Brush the rims of the mugs and the edges of the disks with the egg wash. Spoon the cooled mushroom mixture into each mug until 3⁄4 full. Set a disk over each mug and press firmly against sides to attach.
Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and brush the top with a layer of egg wash. Bake for 3 more minutes, until golden, then remove and serve immediately.
What to Drink
“When I think of chestnuts and mushrooms, my mind wanders to the Pacific Northwest,” says Raj Vaidya, head sommelier at Daniel restaurant. “An earthy Pinot Noir pairs nicely with such a dish — its cherry and bramble flavors are the perfect foil. I love Lingua Franca’s Avni Pinot Noir 2015 [$40] from Oregon; it has a light body, subtle spice and pine notes that contrast with the richness of the dish. Another region that comes to mind is Burgundy in France: Joseph Drouhin’s Santenay 2012 [$35] balances the chestnuts and pastry with fresh acidity and pairs the mushroom flavors with the ‘forest floor’ tones that are characteristic of Burgundy.”
This story was originally published in the October 2017 issue of Siweb.