Gatherer's Pie

By • November 15, 2010 18 Comments

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Author Notes: I have made Shepherd’s Pie, Hunter’s Pie, Cottage Pie, Hachis Parmentier and Chicken Pot Pie and all are delicious and they all have one thing in common, meat. Well, I have to reconsider that last statement because most of them contain potatoes too.
It just so happens I was craving a dish like this and it was one of my "three nights a week vegetarian dinner" nights. I have seen many vegetarian variations on these themes but think I have created a good one that I want to call Gatherer’s Pie.
In reality I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this dish. It was saying “make me”. So I did and the result is oh so good.
With my Thanksgiving table being about a venison ham and a heritage breed turkey we raised this seems fitting.
This dish takes a little time to construct but it can all be done in advance or a little at a time. Make this dish fit your schedule. Like you could cook the oats the day before, the greens in the morning. Just use some common sense and it will all work out just perfect. This is a good place to practice your mise en place.
Oh and if you don’t think it will be filling enough for any vegetarians that may join you at your table you can serve it with some side dishes and salads but I am guessing they won’t walk away hungry.

Note: Oat groats are the whole oat grain minus the hull. Whole foods carries oat groats in the bulk isle. Don’t try to substitute steel cut oats or oat meal it won’t work. - thirschfeld

Food52 Review: Reading the title for this recipe, I really wanted it to be good. "Gatherer's Pie" sounds so homey and comforting, doesn't it? And this was, indeed, everything I hoped it'd be. Not only was it full of flavor (three distinct layers of flavor, in fact), it was full of texture. I really liked the top layer, which, with the cream and the nutmeg, was reminiscent of a bechamel. (I'm stealing this topping for my creamed spinach, by the way.) Oh, and isn't it a back-handed compliment to say of a vegetarian dish, "I didn't miss the meat?" Maybe it's because there's protein from different sources in this dish, but it is "meaty" and substantial; I really didn't miss the meat. I hope you have many more dreams like this, Tom. The only thing I did differently was to eliminate step 4; I cooked all the onions and garlic together, then divided them proportionately for step 2 and step 5. - betteirenebetteirene

Serves 6

for the oats:

  • 1 cup oat groats
  • 5 cups salted water
  • 1 cup yellow onions, minced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, cut into matchstick pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

for the collards:

  • 2 pounds collard greens, center stems removed, leaves rinsed and chopped
  • 1 pound whole milk cottage cheese, drained
  • 1/4 cup onion minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  1. In a 3 quart sauce pan bring the water to a boil. Add the salt and the oats. Bring it back to a boil and then reduce the heat so the water stays at a low boil to a brisk simmer and cook the grains for 30 minutes or until just tender. Drain the oats.
  2. While the grains are cooking place a 10 inch saute pan over high heat. When hot, near smoking, add the butter, swirl it around the pan. It should just start to brown. Add the onions and mushrooms immediately and stir. Add the garlic. Stir. Let the moisture cook out of the mushrooms. Remove from the heat and once it has cooled add the parsley.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, once again the water should taste salty. Add the greens and stir to make sure all of them are submerged. Cook until just tender, about 3-5 minutes depending on how old the greens are and how big the leaves were. Drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold running water turning the greens to make sure all of them have cooled. Once they are cool enough to handle collect them into a ball and squeeze as much moisture out of them as you can. Place the ball on a cutting board and chop them again.
  4. Place a medium saute pan over medium heat and add the butter. When it starts to melt add the onions and cook them until they just begin to soften. Add the garlic and stir. Cook about a minute more.
  5. Combine the greens, onion/garlic mixture and cottage cheese in a bowl. Season them with salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Butter an eight by eight three inch deep casserole. Combine the oats with the mushroom mixture and spread it into the bottom of the casserole. If it looks dry for some reason add a tablespoon or two of water. Next spread the collard greens across the top packing them down a little. At this point you could place it in the fridge for a few hours, or up to a day covered, if you wanted or preheat the oven to 350 degrees and continue.
  7. In a mixing bowl lightly beat the egg yolks. Bring the cream to a boil in a sauce pan. Add yogurt and bring back to a boil. Immediately temper the eggs by adding a little bit of the cream/yogurt mixture and whisking them. Then add the egg mixture back to the sauce pan with the rest of the cream and yogurt. Place over low heat and stir continuously until it starts to thicken. It should look like thin pancake batter. Remove from the heat and stir in a pinch nutmeg. Pour over the top of the casserole making sure it is spread evenly. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly, golden brown and delicious.

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