Hobbit Week: Mushroom, Onion and Garlic Hand Pie
It’s well known Hobbits love mushrooms. These hearty hand pies are an inexpensive and durable way to bring the best taste of the Shire along on any adventure. Enjoy a couple for a quick Elevenses or save them for supper when the crust can soak up a little mutton gravy.
While Hobbits are well known for enjoying meat as much as they do mushrooms, it’s easy enough to make these vegan in case you’re serving visitors on their own adventure from distant lands.
Mushroom, Onion and Garlic Hand Pie
1 pound ground beef (or vegan crumbles)
1 pint mushrooms, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/3 teaspoon fennel seed
1 tsp savory (or rubbed sage)
1 tsp rosemary
1 tbsp cooking oil
2 ½ cups flour
⅓ cup cold water
1 stick room temperature butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
(or the vegan pie crust of your choice)
1 egg for optional egg wash
To make the filling, pour your cooking oil into a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add your minced mushrooms and diced onions. These are very moist foods, so you’re going to want to cook out a lot of that out so they won’t turn your pie to mush from the inside. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are about half their previous volume and the onions start to brown.
Add the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, fennel, savory, and rosemary. Give it all a good hearty stir and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the garlic barely starts to brown.
If you’re making vegan pies, you can either stop now for an all vegetable filling or add a pound of frozen vegan crumbles and another tablespoon of cooking oil. The crumbles are fully cooked, so you’re literally just warming them though and mixing them with the spices.
If you’re making the meaty version, slide the mushroom mix out of the pan and let it patiently wait its turn in a nearby bowl. Replace it with the pound of ground beef. Ground pork or mutton are equally acceptable. Whatever meat you use, brown it until it’s fully cooked.
You may want to drain the fat, but don’t. That precious fluid not only helps bind your ingredients together, but also helps preserve the food over time.
Dump the cooked mushroom mix back in the pan and stir it into the beef until everything is well blended.
Turn off the heat and let the filling cool slightly. This is a good time to make the crust.
A hearty shortcrust pastry is one of the best options for adventurers. They’re known to hold up well no matter how many supplies you cram in your pack, it only takes a little to fill you up, and they’re just plain delicious.
To make the pastry, start by mixing your flour, sugar and salt. Now add in the room temperature butter. Work it into the flour using your fingers until it magically transforms from a greasy lump into a coarse, gravelly meal. Finally, add the cold water. That should be just enough to bind the meal together into a pastry dough.
Knead it a few times then pack it into a disc.
If you’re baking for vegans, substitute room temperature coconut oil for the butter and add an extra teaspoon of salt and tablespoon of sugar. Otherwise, treat it the same.
Lightly flour your work surface. Break off about ¼ of the pie dough and roll it out until it’s no less than ¼-⅛ inch thick. You really don’t want it any thinner. Remember, these aren’t delicate aristocratic nibbles. These are hearty hand pies meant to survive two days in your knapsack. Give them some backbone.
Use a four inch wide cookie cutter to cut out dough discs. I used a hex shaped one. Use whatever you’d like, as long as you are confident you can seal it closed.
Tightly pack about 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of your bottom crust. Go ahead and use your hands. It’s easier. Tightly stretch a second crust on top of it. Use the edge of a fork to crimp the crusts closed. (Or be fancy with your favorite technique. Have fun with it.) Make sure to punch a couple holes in the top for steam to escape.
Arrange your hand pies 1-2 inches apart on a well greased cookie sheet.
If you’re not making vegan pies, whisk 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of water together. Use a pastry brush to paint the tops of your hand pies. If you are using the vegan option, paint the top of the crusts with a thin layer of very cold water.
Either way, bake them at 375F for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Need more Hobbity goodness in your life?
Preview even more recipes from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery, available now!
Sample recipes from all seven chapters of An Unexpected Cookbook:
Breakfast – Poached Pears Stuffed with Frumenty
Second Breakfast – Beef and Mushroom Stuffed Hand Pies
Elevenses – Shire Seed Cake
Luncheon – Stewed Hare with Root Vegetables and Dumplings
Afternoon Tea – Shortbread
Supper – Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms
Dinner – Boxty on the Griddle with Bacon
Need more? Get your own copy of An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery from Amazon.com.
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