Gatherer's Pie

November 15, 2010
4 Ratings
  • Serves 6
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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. - betteirene —betteirene

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • strozyk
  • susan g
    susan g
  • dymnyno
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • drbabs

18 Reviews

lizb October 31, 2011
Made this last night and it was divine. So good that I woke up thinking about it and had leftovers for breakfast with a fried egg on top. I'd never cooked with oat grouts before, but they were easy to find in the bulk isle. I'm glad I now know about them, I can imagine lots of good uses. The only thing I might try next time I make this (and there will certainly be making this again soon) is to cook the oat grout in stock rather than the salted water. But it's hard to think of making any real changes - I don't want to mess up a very, very good thing!
friendlyoaks May 31, 2011
This was very good. Except for barley instead of oats, kale instead of collards, sour cream instead of yogurt, a whole egg instead of yolks, and a different assembly method, I followed your recipe exactly! (I really must try your original recipe sometime.) Anyway, I will happily have leftovers for lunch today.
thirschfeld May 31, 2011
Sounds like as good a subs as any. Bet it was delicious
strozyk April 4, 2011
Just made this, subbing brown basmati for the oat groats (I undercooked them to ensure they still had chew in the end). Y-U-M. I will be making this again. Thank you!
strozyk April 3, 2011
This looks wonderful. I am a greens-hound too. As I'm gluten free, I don't want to track down certified GF oat groats, and farro, spelt, wheatberries - all off my list. What do you think would be the best fit? Maybe wild rice? Quinoa?

Love your recipes, thirschfeld - please keep them coming!
susan G. April 1, 2011
I'm so glad this rose to EP, since I missed it the 1st time. Sounds like a must do here, and a home for some spelt berries I'm not grinding. And another opportunity for creative play in the kitchen!
dymnyno November 16, 2010
This sounds like a great vegetarian dish. It sounds very healthy but not at the expense of flavor. Our local state park has a grist mill and they produce grouts once in a while...I will pay attention!
thirschfeld November 17, 2010
Thanks dymnyo. It is really tasty and I hope you try it.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 20, 2010
Hi dymnyno, I found the groats at my local Whole Foods, so they might be easy for you to find in Petaluma. Although, having them come from a grist mill sounds fabulous and so authentic. I've think I've been to that state park with my husband to do some hiking and remember the signs for a grist mill.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 16, 2010
This one is right up my alley. I love collard greens, as of last year when I got them every week for like forever in my CSA box and finally decided to actually do something with them. I've saved this one to make really soon! Thanks for posting this one!
thirschfeld November 17, 2010
I can never eat enough greens. Whether they are turnip, collard, kale, amaranth I am a sucker for them all. Believe it or not I still have collards growing in the garden. I have never had them go this long without freezing to their end. I am hoping they make it to Monday or Tuesday for Thanksgiving.
TheWimpyVegetarian November 20, 2010
I've got it in the oven baking right now. I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms, so I switched them out for apples and cooked with onions until (hopefully) most moisture is gone. We'll see how it works but it seemed like apple would go well with the flavors and is another fall flavor. I've got AJ's Multigrain Cereal Bread baking in the oven and some cipollini onions in an orange, blackberry, balsamic sauce I'm playing with on a soft simmer. Feeling so grateful for all the people in my life. And, can't wait for dinner :-)
thirschfeld November 20, 2010
I wouldn't have thought to put apples with greens so I am curious. I need to make AJ's bread too. Then again I need to bake your rosemary stout bread. So many recipes and so little time and, yes, feeling very thankful too
TheWimpyVegetarian November 20, 2010
This was a great dinner. Thanks much. The apples were a nice burst of fruit with the savory, but I wouldn't recommend them over the mushrooms for folks who like them better than I do. And I'm looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Or breakfast with a poached egg...Yum. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving, Tom.
drbabs November 15, 2010
Double yum. To monkeymom, I just made something with wheatberries, and they took about an hour.
thirschfeld November 16, 2010
Thanks rebabs. I will sometimes bring a pot of water to a boil with wheat berries and boil for two minutes. I then turn off the heat and cover them and let them sit for two hours or longer. They then only seem to take 20 minutes to get al dente. I say this because I have had winter wheat berries take up to two hours before being edible
monkeymom November 15, 2010
hecka yum. Will look for oat groats. Do you think wheatberries or farro would work?
thirschfeld November 15, 2010
thanks monkeymom. Either, I am sure, would work fine. The farro if it is hulled will cook in about the same time but the wheat berries can sometimes take a very very long time to cook. So if you sub you may have some diff. cooking times.