Where it comes to anything to do with bacon or potatoes, my husband is the master chef in our kitchen, and I suspect that 99% of the cooking that he did before I met him involved at least one of these two ingredients. To be honest, I’ve never been much of a fan of potatoes and I find they are often rather bland and uninspiring, but I must admit that from his deliciously crispy roasties to his smooth and well seasoned mash my husband does have a knack for transforming them into something lovely. In his kind and giving way, he wanted to make mash that I could enjoy as much as he does (i.e. without dairy) and, following our holiday in Greece this summer, he came up with the idea of substituting the butter with olive oil and, to his surprise, actually found that he liked the taste even more than his regular mash. Here I have used the olive oil mash to top a rich stew of mushrooms and tomatoes to create a warming and comforting dish that is idea for cold, dark evenings but still has a hint of a mediterranean summer.
Tomato and mushroom olive oil mash pie
Cooking time: 30 minutes preparation, 25-30 minutes cooking time on the night (minimal to no assembly time required)
Dietary info: vegan, gluten-free
Mushroom and tomato filling
- 500g closed cup mushrooms (you can use a variety of different mushrooms instead e.g. chestnut, button, portebello etc.), washed and thickly sliced
- 4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 100g calvo nero or savoy cabbage, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 vegetable stock cube (if you are vegan or lactose intolerant, check the stock is vegan, some contain lactose)
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- water for cooking
Olive oil mash
- 2 large potatoes, washed and scrubbed and cut into bite sized pieces (we don’t peel our potatoes before mashing as we like the taste and texture of the skin and it has a lot of nutrients in it, but if you prefer a skin-free mash then please peel the potatoes before chopping them up)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50ml almond or soy milk
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Put the sliced onion in a saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and cook on a medium heat, covered, until the onion starts to soften (about 5 minutes).
- Add the sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, calvo nero or savoy cabbage, garlic, basil and sage to the saucepan then crumble in the stock cube. Mix well and cook, covered until the tomatoes have broken down to form a thick sauce (probably about 20-25 minutes).
- Season the tomato and mushroom stew with the lemon juice, and any extra salt that you want.
- Steam or boil the potatoes until they are soft (about 10-15 minutes).
- Put the soft potatoes, salt, olive oil, garlic, basil and sage into a blender and blend them to a smooth puree, adding the almond or soy milk gradually to get it to the consistency that you like. Taste and season with additional salt if you want.
- Put the vegetable stew in an ovenproof dish and top with the mashed potato. Score the potato with a fork to make ridges if you like a crisper topping texture.
- Bake the pie for 20-30 minutes at 160C fan until the top is golden brown and crispy, and the filling is starting to bubble out of the sides. This is nice served with steamed vegetables (e.g. broccoli, green beans, carrot, leek, cabbage etc.) and a dash of lemon juice.
A few tips to prep ahead:
- The stew and mash can be made ahead of time, and even assembled into a pie if you have room in your fridge for the pie dish. Then all you need to do on the night is take it out of the fridge and put it in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- If you don’t have room for the pie dish, store the stew and mash in separate sealed containers in the fridge and then assemble on the night.
Some tasty little twists…
This pie is very versatile:
- If you want to add more protein, mix some cooked lentils or small beans (e.g. haricot or borlotti) into the vegetable stew.
- Try replacing the basil and sage with 1 tsp each of oregano and smoked paprika and switching the calvo nero or cabbage or 2 sliced red, yellow or orange peppers.
- For a meat version, add diced sausage, bacon or chorizo to the stew.
The olive oil mash is also good in a variety of other dishes:
- The potato can be a nice alternative to the batter in toad in the hole – cook the sausages and some sliced onion in a frying pan until the onion is soft and the sausages are cooked through, then put them in an ovenproof dish, cover them in the mash (replace the basil and sage with other herbs and spices to match the sausages), and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with a gravy (see my Spanish inspired veggie toad in the hole for ideas) and steamed vegetables.
- Use the mash as an accompaniment to sausages, grilled meat or vegetables.
- Mix the mash with fish, meat or vegetables (e.g. 2 or 3 of the following: cooked diced onion, sweetcorn, grated carrot, green peas, sun-dried tomatoes, sliced olives, cooked and flaked smoked haddock or mackerel, cooked diced bacon), put tablespoons of the mixture out onto a non-stick baking tray (preferably use a non-stick silicon baking sheet) and cook for about 20 minutes to make potato cakes. Leave them to cool for a few minutes before trying to take them off the tray as they will be very soft.