Something a little heartier as the season shifts

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The cold and damp this week calls out for heartier food, though we’re in no rush to start thinking about what comes after this not-so-great fall weather.

Though mushrooms are the feature of this dish – it’s right there in the name, Country-Style Mushroom Pie – it also contains root vegetables that are a staple in the months ahead, making this recipe an easy choice for this season and next.

Not only is the pie wonderful as an option after outdoor activities, warm and filling, it’s also versatile: the filling can be prepared ahead to fill either a double-crust pie for dinner or tart shells for appetizers. Take your choice, and happy baking.

Country-Style Mushroom Pie

Pastry for double-crust 9 in. (23 cm) pie

Mushroom filling:

  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 Tbsp. cognac or brandy
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. each ground nutmeg and freshly ground pepper

Roll out pastry and line 9 in. (23 cm) pie plate.

Mushroom filling:

In saucepan, cook parsnip and carrot in chicken broth until tender; do not drain.

In non-stick skillet, melt butter on medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to low. Stir in flour, cream, cognac, salt, nutmeg and pepper; cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in parsnip mixture. Cool slightly.

Turn filling into pastry-lined pie plate; arrange second crust over filling, crimping edges. Slash crust in several places for steam vents. Bake in 425ºF (220ºC) oven 25 to 30 minutes until pastry is browned. Cut into wedges to serve.

Variation: Fill two dozen small unbaked tart shells with mushroom filling and bake 15 to 20 minutes in 425ºF (220ºC) oven.