Once upon a time, long, long ago, there was a cold, wintry day on which I had a bunch of little kids, no car, and nothing in the house but some onions, a few potatoes, a block of cheddar cheese, and the makings of a pie crust. (Any reader who gets the impression that I have a long history of forgetting to lay in supplies would be correct.)
Anyway, that makeshift recipe was so successful that it became one of my signature, go-to dishes. In fact, it was among the first dinners I made for my partner when we were cresting that scenic hill upon which courtship gives way to The Domestic Horizon, based on its tried-and-true ability to elicit appreciative "mmmmmm, yummy" noises.
After going vegan, I continued to indulge my lifelong passion for savory pies, but it took awhile for me to get around to a cheezy one because I was unimpressed by the melting capacities of the available dairy-free options. (Although I am perfectly happy alone in a dark room with some blue-flavored Cheezly and a box of oatcakes. DON'T JUDGE!) Fortunately, major advances in the field of vegan cheese have changed all that, so now this old favorite once again appears on the regular, and now you can make it, too!
Cheezy Potato Mushroom Pie
~ 1 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 large carrot, cut into small dice
~ 110 oz. package brown mushrooms, chopped
~ 4 smallish potatoes, baked (I used the microwave) and cubed
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, parsley, dill, paprika
~ 1/2 tsp. each: marjoram, smoked paprika
~ Prepared 9" pie crust, store bought or homemade
~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
~ In a large skillet or wok, warm the oil over medium heat, add the onions and carrots and saute for 5 minutes, until softened.
~ Add the garlic, mushrooms, and seasonings and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms have given off some of their liquid.
~ Add the potatoes and stir to combine; reduce heat to low and cook another 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. (You can add a splash of water or - if you're feeling cheffy and/or drinking - white wine as needed to prevent this.)
~ Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
~ 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 tsp. each: vegan Worcestershire sauce, Marmite
~ Healthy shot of hot sauce
~ 1 heaping cup grated cheddar flavor vegan cheese (I used Daiya)
~ In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, and hot sauce.
~ Begin adding the cheese gradually while stirring constantly. As the mixture thickens, continue stirring until you have achieved a "cheezy" texture.
~ Add the sauce to the vegetable mixture, combine thoroughly, and pour into prepared pie-crust.
~ Sprinkle on a little extra paprika and/or parsley for garnish, and bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the top is browned and set. (If it seems to be browning too quickly, you can cover it with foil for part of this process.)
~ When a knife inserted into the center comes out (mostly) clean, remove from oven and set aside.
~ Allow the pie to rest for 15 minutes before serving.