Rainbow Chard, Goats Cheese and Mushroom Pie

I picked up some very nice looking rainbow chard this morning.  It’s not a vegetable I often buy, although I do often have the baby stems in prepared bags of salad.  I decided that it would be good with the field mushrooms I also bought, together with some goats cheese.

Swiss chard

This is a very quick pie that makes the most of the autumn produce available right now and uses ready bought puff pastry. The cheese really brings it all together and the finished pie makes for a very nice meat-free lunch or supper dish with salad.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie1

Ingredients:
1 bunch of fresh rainbow chard, washed
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 punnet of field mushrooms
1tbs mixed fresh herbs, I used thyme, rosemary and one sage leaf, all finely chopped
1 small goats cheese
50g Gruyere cheese – grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3tbs double cream
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
1 knob of butter with a little olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:
Prepare the onions by halving and slicing them.  Strip the leaves from the stems of the chard and chop the stems fairly small.  Tear the leaves.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie

Heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the onions and herbs.  Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Add in the chard stems and cook together until softened and translucent.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie3

Slice the mushrooms and add to the onions and chard, cook until golden, before adding in the chard leaves to wilt down.

When the leaves have wilted, stir in the mustard and cream and remove from the heat.

Stir in the grated gruyere cheese off the heat and leave to cool before assembling the pie.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie6

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non stick liner.

Place the pasty sheet onto the lined baking and cut in half.

In the centre of one half of the pastry, pile the filling, leaving a border of around 2cm. Dot with the crumbled goats cheese and brush the border with beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie2

For the other half, I have cut out little holes, but you can just cut steam holes.  Place the second half directly over the filling and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Brush the top with the beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie4

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crisp, golden and completely cooked through.  Leave to cool a little before serving with salad and a nice glass of chilled white wine.

Wild Mushroom Vol-au-vents

I always look out for wild mushrooms at this time of year, as they are so good and abundantly available.  I wouldn’t ever go foraging on my own, despite owning several mushroom books, as I don’t have enough knowledge, but I’d definitely be up for an organised foray with an expert.

Wild mushrooms1

I picked up some really nice wild mushrooms early this morning at the market. My selection included oyster, shiitake, maitake and a few field mushrooms, but creamed mushrooms would be good with any selection of fresh, earthy wild mushrooms.

Mushroom vol au vents1

I think its best to eat mushrooms as soon as possible, they go slimy and pretty nasty if you keep them for too long.  I don’t like to leave them wrapped in plastic either, a paper bag or basket is best.

I made creamed mushrooms with my batch and mushrooms on toast is the perfect quick supper for this time of year.

Wild mushrooms

With the rest of the mushrooms, I decided to make retro mushroom vol-au-vents.  My prawn and avocado vol-au-vents recipe is actually my most viewed post, so I thought I would have to do the other vol-au-vents that I remember from the family Christmas parties from all those years ago.

Mushroom vol au vents1

The mushroom vol-au-vents were one of the first things to go from the buffet table (unlike my poor Grandma’s prawn ones).  They were always made from those creamed button mushrooms from a can and placed into frozen pastry cases.  I was never a fan, but I thought it was time to bring back the retro mushroom vol-au-vent and use fresh, wild mushrooms, thyme and home made cases (I did buy the ready-made puff pastry though!)  The result was a really nice, seasonal treat that makes the most of the wild mushrooms that are around right now, but would also be great on a Christmas buffet table as a tasty nostalgic reminder.

Mushroom vol au vents

Ingredients:
A selection of wild mushrooms – I used two punnets
Knob of butter and a little splash of olive oil
1 onion or a couple of shallots, finely chopped
Small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
1tsp Dijon mustard
2-3tbs cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 sheets of puff pastry, or you could use frozen cases
1 egg, beaten

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F
Cut out the bases for the vol-au-vents and place on a lined baking sheet or parchment.  I got 12 bases from one sheet.  Then cut out another 12 from the second sheet of pastry and cut holes out of the second set with a smaller cutter.

Brush the bases with beaten egg and place the rings onto the bases.  If the pastry warms up and becomes difficult to handle, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes to firm it up.

Mushroom vol au vents3

Brush the tops with the egg and bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden, crisp and all puffed up.  You can also brush the ‘holes’ with egg and bake those alongside the pastry cases.  Leave on a cooling rack while you make the filling.

Tear up the mushrooms or roughly chop and strip the thyme leaves from the stems if they are woody and give them a chop too.

Heat the butter and oil until foamy and add in the finely chopped onion with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  When they are translucent, add in 1-2tsp of thyme leaves and then the mushrooms.  Cook them until they are nice and golden and then stir through a little cream and check the seasoning.

Mushroom vol au vents2

At this point, you can serve the creamed mushrooms on some toasted, buttered sourdough, or fill the vol-au-vents.  I had enough for both!

Mushrooms on toast

For the vol-au-vents, I simply press down the centre that rises up as they bake (I don’t bother docking the raw pastry with a fork) and fill with the creamed mushrooms, sprinkle over a little more thyme leaves.

Serve as a canapé with or without the lids depending on how retro you want to be!

Mushroom vol au vents4

These are really good in a larger pastry case too, served with a green salad as a first course or a light lunch.

Fresh Tomato Galette with Goats Cheese

This galette has lots of fresh tomatoes, goats cheese, balsamic caramelised onions and thyme – all baked together in a buttery crust, flavoured with Grana Padano cheese.

Tomato galette6

It makes the most of the summer tomato harvest that is so good right now and would be even better if you use home-grown, or heirloom tomatoes.  I picked my tomatoes up from my favourite farm shop and they were locally grown – so much better than forced tomatoes that have been flown half way around the world that taste of nothing!

Tomato galette5

Galettes have to be one of the easiest tarts to bake as they are supposed to look rustic!  This crust has the addition of the cheese to give it an extra savoury note that really sets the whole thing off.

I start with a base of slowly cooked onions, caramelised with balsamic vinegar then crumbled goats cheese, thyme leaves and topped with the sliced tomatoes and a little gruyere.  You can never have too much cheese – right?

Tomato galette4

Make the most of these late summer days and enjoy at a picnic in the park, or in the garden with salad and cold white wine.

…or alternatively; inside, with the doors shut – well away from wasps!

Crust Ingredients:
240g plain/all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Grana Padano cheese
170g very cold butter, cut into cubes
1tsp salt
Iced water
1 egg beaten with a splash of milk to make a wash
Black onion seeds and seseme seeds for sprinkling

Filling:
1 punnet of fresh tomatoes
Goats cheese – approx 220g, crumbled
Gruyere cheese – around a handful, grated
3 medium sized brown onions
Pinch of brown sugar
Balsamic vinegar
Small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1tbs olive oil
Small knob of butter
Salt and black pepper

Method:
For the crust, I use the food processor, fitted with the steel blade.  Place the flour, salt, cheese and butter and pulse until just incorporated.  Add the iced water a little at a time, pulsing until the dough just comes together.  Take it out, form into a flattened disc, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling, slice each onion in half and cut thinly.  Heat the oil and butter and cook the onions with a good pinch of salt.  Cook until they start to become translucent.  Add a pinch of sugar and they need to be left on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are a lovely walnut colour, but not burnt.

Leave them cooking low and slow for around 30 minutes.  When they are looking ready, stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar (balsamic glaze would also be ok here) let it cook in for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.  Set aside to cool.

Tomato galette8

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F

Slice all the tomatoes and place onto some kitchen paper to absorb extra juices.

When the onions are cold, its time to roll out the chilled dough.  I prefer to sprinkle a little flour onto my baking sheet liner and roll out directly onto it.  This helps transport the galette into the oven.

Roll out the dough into a rough circle, about half a centimeter.  Spread out the caramelised onions, leaving around a 5cm/2 inch border around the edge.

Tomato galette

Top with the crumbled goats cheese, a grind of black pepper and a little of the thyme leaves.

Tomato galette1

Place the sliced tomatoes over the top, season with salt and pepper and grate over a little gruyere cheese and more thyme leaves.

Tomato Galette2

Bring the pastry up over the filling, leaving the centre exposed, folding and pleating as you go.

Tomato galette3

Brush with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle a few onion and seseme seeds over the outside of the crust.  Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for around 45 minutes, but keep an eye it, it should be golden brown and the filling just starting to catch on the edges.

Tomato galette7

Leave to cool for a few minutes if serving it warm with salad for a delicious lunch.  I think its just as good cold and would be a great addition for a picnic or lunchbox.

Tomato galette9