Woodland Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie


(serves 4)

  • 500g mixed wild mushrooms, such as portabello, ceps, chanterelles and pied bleu
  • 75g butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium white onions, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • ¼ of a swede, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 100ml sherry
  • 200ml white wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated

For the mash:

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 70g butter
  • 50ml milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A vegetarian alternative to shepherd’s pie for the autumn. When you cook the mushrooms, do so in batches, so that they sauté properly and become nice and golden. If you cram too many into the pan at the same time, you will reduce the heat and they will steam, rather than fry. If you can’t find enough of the mushroom varieties suggested, you can add some chestnut mushrooms. When you chop the vegetables they should be quite small – about 1cm.


First make the mash. Put the potatoes into a medium pan, cover with cold, lightly salted water and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for around 20 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through and easily fall away if pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain in a colander and leave to steam briefly, then return them to the pan and mash well (alternatively put them through a potato ricer, then return them to the pan). Add the butter and milk and season. Leave the pan at the side of the stove while you prepare the mushrooms.

Divide the mushrooms into 4 equal mounds, as you want to fry them in batches. Also cut the butter into 5 equal pieces – set one aside to cook the onions and other vegetables in a moment. Heat one of the remaining 4 pieces of butter with a tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Add the first mound of mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes, until golden brown, then remove. Put in the next piece of butter and another tablespoon of oil and when the butter has melted fry the next mound of mushrooms. Repeat twice more.

In a casserole (one that has a lid), melt the reserved piece of butter and add the chopped onions, celery, carrot, swede and garlic. Cook without a lid over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are starting to colour slightly and become soft.

Add the cooked mushrooms, together with the sherry and wine, and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 10 minutes, until nearly all the liquid has gone.

Add the cream, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne and chopped parsley, and season. Bring back to the boil, then take off the heat straight away, taste and season again if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4.

Spoon the mixture into a deep pie dish and either spoon or pipe the reserved mashed potatoes over the top. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan.

Put into the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until golden brown on top and hot all the way through.


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