I realize that using “booze-infused” in a recipe title is not my classiest culinary writing moment. But to be honest, I’m a bit weary of foodies who glamorize even the simplest of dishes. And this dish is simple: honest-to-goodness, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food. This recipe is not difficult, but it is a bit time-consuming, perfect to make on a chilly winter day when you have cabin fever or when you just feel like puttering about the kitchen. It’s wonderful with a bowl of veggie soup or a tossed spinach salad. And if you want it to sound fancier, just insert the name of the booze you use in the title, such as “Marsala-Infused,” “Sherry-Infused,” or “Vermouth-Infused.”
Makes one 9-inch (23 cm) pie
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC, or gas mark 5). Spray a pie pan with cooking spray.
To make the crust: Heat the broth in a large saucepan over medium heat until just steaming, about 5 minutes; do not boil. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, about ¼ cup (35 g) at a time, to ensure the batter does not get lumpy. Add the seasonings and stir well. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to low/medium-low and cook until very thick and no longer soupy, about 10 minutes. Careful! It bubbles up and can spatter. Spread about ½ cup (130 g) or so in a 6 x 3 x ¼-inch (15 cm x 7.5 cm x 6 mm) layer (give or take) on a sheet of waxed paper. Let the remainder of the batter cool slightly, then spread in the prepared pie pan. Use a small cookie cutter to cut some shapes from the cornmeal layer. Keep it simple: stars, hearts, and circles work best, because cornmeal dough can be fragile. Set the shapes aside. Bake the pie crust for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden.
To make the filling: Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softish. Turn the heat to high, add the Marsala, and deglaze the pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the mushrooms. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring to coat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the creamer and cornstarch to make a slurry. Add to the mushrooms and continue to cook over low to medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mushrooms are soft, about 10 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the nutritional yeast and remove from the heat. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
Remove the crust from the oven, but leave the oven on. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then fill with the mushroom mixture and decorate with the polenta cutouts. Bake for 5 minutes more. Remove and let cool for 1 hour before serving, either warm or at room temperature. This is best reheated in the microwave, because it helps retain the moisture.
Take It Slow!
Onions and garlic browning too quickly? Reduce the heat and sprinkle with salt. The salt draws out water and slows down the cooking.
Published with permission from the lovely Dynise Balcavage via her brilliant new cookbook that you must own at once (click the link below!)
Dynise Balcavage blogs at urbanvegan.net. Her third cookbook, Pies and Tarts with Heart, is out now!