My farmers market is back and I couldn’t be more excited! Living in Southern California I have access to a wide range of local and organic foods year round, which is great, and I can find a close-by farmers market to go to almost any day of the week, year round. Yes I know, it just isn’t fair. My favorite farmers market is walking distance from my home, but it is only open April through October. So for five months out of the year I have to go elsewhere. My farmers market is back!
The first week it came back I was stuck in traffic coming home from work in Los Angeles so I only had time to run through the market instead of doing my leisurely shopping, touching, and smelling. Of course I visited the beef jerky guy for several samples, and purchased two flavors that I have been happily snacking on. There was a new pizza cart that had to be my first stop since I was so hungry. Since I had, oh so patiently, sat in traffic for so long that night I treated myself to a delicious funnel cake sprinkled with powdered sugar. After my mandatory stops I began walking through the market and browsing the wares the vendors hadn’t packed up yet.
Just before he put the last of his goods away, I spotted the mushroom man! I have said before how much I love mushrooms. Of course I had to stop and chat with him, and touch and smell everything he had to offer. Chanterelle mushrooms are not currently in season so I bought a jar of dried, and picked up a bag of his mixed mushrooms. Because I stood and chatted with him for a bit, and was his last customer, he threw in a bunch of white beech mushrooms. I walked away with my brown baggie of mushrooms like a kid who just finished trick-or-treating in the rich neighborhood.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to mushroom recipes, but I knew what I had to do. My favorite restaurant serves an amazing Filet Mignon Pot Pie that I have been itching to recreate. When I came home with my mushroom loot I decided that mushrooms would add a wonderful flavor to the pies. My filet mignon pot pies are different than the ones served at Watermarc, but they are quite the savory treat. All this means is that I have created a delicious dish and get to experiment some more to recreate Chef Cohen’s specialty.
Filet mignon is the most tender cut of beef you can get. Even raw, it cuts like butter. “mignon” is the French word for cute so (bonus!) it is also the cutest cut of beef. After simmering for an hour the beef melts in your mouth and takes on the earthy deliciousness of the mushrooms.
Filet Mignon Pot Pie with Mushroom Gravy
Yield: 4 8-ounce individual pot pies
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 pound filet mignon, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup chopped mushrooms – I used a mixture of chanterelle, shiitake, beech, button, and baby portobello – you can use any type you prefer*
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon flour
Pie dough or puff pastry
1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat until very hot, but not smoking.
2. Pat the beef dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Place the beef in the pot and brown on each side. Remove the need to a plate.
4. Add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pot. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables, scraping up any browned bits on the pan. Cook 1 minute.
6. Stir in the beef broth, potatoes, mushrooms*, and bay leaf.
7. In a small bowl, mix together the butter and flour to form a paste. Stir this into the pot.
8. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
9. Heat oven to 350.
10. Ladle filling into individual ramekins or a pie pan. Cover with pie dough or puff pastry.
11. Bake 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
12. Serve hot with a nice red wine.
*if you are using dried mushrooms rehydrate them in warm water for 15 minutes, then add to the pot pie filling just before baking.