It’s World Vegan Day today, Sunday 1 November, and we’re embracing it by sharing two vegan recipes that celebrate all things plant based. Think a pub classic with a vegan twist and a to-die-for dessert that will impress any and all chocolate lovers.
Vegan recipe with a pub twist: Claire Charters’ mushroom and Guinness pies
Makes 6-12, depending on size
2 cups dried porcini mushrooms
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large brown onion, diced
1 1/4 tsp salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
3 carrots, thinly diced
2 cups russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 1/4 cups Guinness beer
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups vegan beef stock (I use Massel)
1/3 cup plain flour
6 sheets vegan shortcrust pastry (for base)
3 sheets vegan puff pastry (for top)
1 Tbsp vegan butter (I use Nuttelex)
mashed potato, mushy peas, vegan gravy, barbecue, or tomato sauce
For the stew, place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit for approximately 15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onions, adding the salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions turn translucent. Add garlic, and cook for a further minute.
Add the cremini mushrooms (but not the porcinis just yet), celery, carrot, potatoes, thyme and rosemary. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms release moisture and brown slightly.
Add the Guinness, tomato paste and sugar, season with pepper and salt and bring to the boil. The liquid should reduce in about 3 minutes.
Drain and chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the pan. Add the stock, cover and bring to a full boil for 5 minutes or so. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until all vegetables are fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
Gradually whisk a cup of cold water into the flour until no lumps are left. Slowly add to the pot, stirring well as you go. Cook for 5 minutes or so, until the stew thickens.
Take off the heat and let the stew cool for about 15 minutes. Note that the flavours will develop further if the filling is left overnight.
To make the pies, leave the puff pastry and shortcrust pastry on the bench to defrost. Check the packet instructions.
Preheat oven to 220°C.
Oil 6 standard or 12 small pie dishes and line each with the thawed shortcrust pastry. (You can also buy disposable aluminium pie trays.) Fill each pie case with the pie filling.
Using a cutter, or ramekin or saucer, cut circles out of the thawed puff pastry that will be the right size to fit over the top of the pie. Place the pastry rounds on top to cover the pie mixture and use a lightly floured fork to press the edges together. Use a small sharp knife to make 2 slits in the top of each pastry lid.
If you’re feeling creative, cut out a few shapes from the leftover pastry with a biscuit cutter and put them on top of the pies. Brush the tops lightly with a little melted vegan butter and bake for 35–40 minutes or until golden.
Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then remove from the tins.
Serve hot with mashed potato, mushy peas and vegan gravy. Or you can have them the Aussie way with either barbecue or tomato sauce.
Vegan recipe for an indulgent dessert: Beer-battered chocolate bars
4 vegan chocolate bars, about 50g each
Canola oil, for deep-frying
75g (1/2 cup) self-raising flour (see note)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
125ml (1/2 cup) chilled beer (see note)
Sea salt flakes
Vegan chocolate sauce
Vegan chocolate cookies, broken into chunks
Soy or rice whip
Place the chocolate bars in the freezer for 2–3 hours to firm up.
Heat the canola oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Test if the oil is ready by inserting a wooden skewer or the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil; if it begins to bubble quickly then you’re ready to go.
Place the flour in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss the frozen chocolate bars in the flour to lightly coat, then remove and set aside on a plate.
Pour the beer into the flour, stirring constantly, to create a batter. You may not need it all, so go slowly until the batter is runny but not so runny that it won’t cling to the chocolate. Dip each chocolate bar into the batter until completely coated. One at a time, scoop the bars out with as much batter as you can keep clinging to them, then bravely drop the battered bars into the oil. Cook for 2–3 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
Remove the chocolate bars using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve warm with a sprinkling of fat sea salt flakes, chocolate sauce, chocolate cookies, soy or rice whip and a few pretzels, or whatever sweet garnishes you have lying around.
Note: For a gluten-free version of this dessert, use soda water instead of beer and replace the flour with gluten-free flour.
Recipe extracted from Vegan Junk Food by Zacchary Bird, published by Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99.
For more delicious vegan recipes and more tasty content, check out our food and wine section.