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Porcini pie - a dish with ceps appeal

You know how when you go to a non-veg*n place for dinner, and before you even look for the veg*n option, you know exactly what it's going to be? 

Veg*n options go in phases, I reckon. At the minute, someone's told all the omni restaurants out there that all veg*ns are absolutely jonesing for risotto. And not just any risotto, they want mushroom risotto. And not just any mushroom risotto, it has to be porcini risotto.

Whoever said familiarity breeds contempt was clearly thinking about the fungus-rice interface that is porcini risotto.

It's enough to put a vegan off porcini. Well, it was certainly enough to put me off anyway - I'd never cooked with them ever at home.

But when I saw this recipe for Cep Pie over on the Independent website, I knew I wanted to try it out, porcini be damned! (Did you know that cep and porcini are the same thing? You did? You're one step ahead of me then!) 

Anyhoo, the recipe isn't vegan, but it's fairly easy to veganise. I made it twice - once with vegan cream and parsley, and once without parsley and with soy milk.

You know everything I thought about porcini being boring? I was wrong. So wrong. So, so very wrong.

Turns out that porcini are full of deep, rich, almost smoky flavour and when you wrap them up in a soft, creamy sauce, they just sing.

Out of the two different versions I cooked up, I think I preferred the simpler one without the cream. Without the competing flavours, the mushrooms could just do their own thing unhindered - and boy do they do it well!

So next time I see another porcini dish on an omni menu somewhere, I'll complement the restaurant on their excellent taste in mushrooms and wish hope they've had the good sense to ditch the risotto and get involved with mashed potatoes.

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  1. Porcini and mashed potatoes! Nice! It sounds excellent. I like the idea of earthy mushrooms with creamy mashed potatoes.

  2. Ha ha, the risotto phase hasn't hit my area yet - we're still stuck on pasta with vegetables and some sort of tomato sauce. I can't even bring myself to make that at home anymore! At least it wasn't the mushroom's fault. :)

  3. I'd be pretty happy with the porcini risotto, but this does look particularly tasty. In my area the vegan dish seems to eternally be pasta with olive oil and perhaps some anemic slices of carrot and zucchini.

  4. I would take a mushroom risotto over a pumpkin one any day of the week. Pumpkin risotto seems to get a good run in omni places over here, I'm not really a fan but I have to eat it sometimes because there is nothing else on offer!

    It sounds like a delicious meal! I've never bought porcini before because they are quite expensive, maybe it's time to lash out. Did you use dried or fresh porcini? I think I've only seen them dried...

  5. I have not noticed the risotto phenomenon here, but I avoid restaurants that are not vegan friendly. I probably will be going to one for Thanksgiving though; I wonder if they'll serve me risotto! I don't know if I've ever bought porcini mushrooms, but this dish looks absolutely delicious and wonderfully warming for cold weather.


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