Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spicy Mushroom Phyllo Pie

One of the greatest things you can do as a vegan is cook for your friends. I love cooking and baking for the people around me to show how accessible and delicious vegan food can be. I like to think I’ve had pretty good success with this tactic. One of the kindest things you can do for a vegan is  think outside the box, and serve something other than side dishes for dinner. My mom and sister were invited to dinner recently, and the host made this dish for dinner, which was not only thoughtful, but also incredibly delicious, I heard. After the rave reviews of this dinner, I wanted to try it. After obtaining the recipe, I made it for dinner, and everyone was right; it was delectable!

This was my first time working with phyllo dough, and it was surprisingly easy. My only suggestion is to have plenty of clean counter space. The filling was delicious and super flavorful. The top of the phyllo was light and flaky, and the middle layers were moist and chewy. Working with phyllo also gives me even more pie possibilities. Much like my recent cauliflower fennel gratin recipe, this dish makes me so excited for all the possible variations I could make. The flavors of this version can be characterized as Thai, but the version served at dinner used more Indian spices.  I am dying to make this with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. I also want to make it into phyllo triangles instead of the original layered version for a dinner party starter. As an entrée, or as an appetizer, this is a truly satisfying vegan dish.

1 package Phyllo dough (18 sheets) thawed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound baby bella mushrooms minced
3 slices of bread diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 red bell pepper diced
Salt and pepper to tase

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, bread pieces, red curry paste, and almonds, and stir gently. Add the almond milk and mix. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 375º. Unroll the phyllo sheets and set on a clean, dry counter. Lay 1 sheet flat and brush with olive oil. Lay a second sheet on top of the first, and brush with olive oil. Repeat until you have 6 sheets layered. Brush a 9” x 13” pan with olive oil. Lay the stacked phyllo dough in the pan. Spoon half of the mushroom mixture evenly onto the phyllo. Fold the edges of the dough in, until the dough fits inside the pan. Prepare another 6 sheets of phyllo dough, and lay on top of the first layer. Spoon the rest of the mushroom mixture onto the dough. Fold the edges of the second layer in, until it fits in the pan. Prepare the remaining 6 layers of phyllo dough. Trim the edges of the dough to the size of the pan and lay it on the very top.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top layer is golden brown.

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