Friday, August 26, 2016

Farmer Maggot's Mushroom Pot Pie Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring

I've always had a love-hate relationship with Tolkien. On one hand, he's an author I've always looked up to: his prose is gorgeously poetic, his world-building is impeccable, his character development makes me drool, and his stories are inspiring in the highest degree.

On the other hand? Sometimes he makes me want to bang my head on the wall and scream, "Too many words, man! Too many words!!" I mean, yes, you have an impressive way with words. I get it. I acknowledg it. I bow down to it. But, for the love of mushrooms, you don't have to use every single word you know on a regular basis in order to prove it! Cut back, dude. Cut back.

I am not a patient person, so it's no surprise that I've only read the Lord of the Rings series twice (as opposed to The Hobbit, which I've read about a dozen times). There are, to put it simply, too many words in that series.

At least, that's what I thought. I haven't read the series for several years, so I decided to give it another read and prepare myself for an amazing story with some rather superfluous parts. I expected to love it while also being annoyed.

Well, I wasn't wrong. I re-read The Fellowship of the Ring and was blown away. I was also annoyed, though not for the reason I expected to be.

I was annoyed because, dang, this guy can write. And I'd missed out on a lot by letting his stories sit on my shelf unread for so long. I mean, yes, there are still too many words, but at least they're beautiful ones.

I was happy to have picked up some new pieces of information upon reading this book. For instance, did you know that the Gaffer is said to be an authority on po-tay-toes? Yep. Now we know where Sam gets it. Both Gollum and Frodo become more amazing characters upon each inspection. The emphasis on courage no matter the circumstances stood out to me more than ever with this re-reading. And I was beyond happy to discover that Tolkien's wife, Edith, inspired the character of Luthien.

But you know one of Tolkien's biggest feats as a writer?

He actually made me eat (and like) mushrooms.

I mean, prior to a few weeks ago, I liked mushrooms about as much as Gollum likes lembus bread, though, to be fair, I'd never tried to make them myself. Upon reading about the hobbits and their visit to Farmer Maggot's home, I thought, "Okay, that sounds pretty good. I bet I could learn to make fungi taste good. Maybe?"

So, after reading about nineteen recipes and not particularly liking any of them, I made up my own. It turned out really well. One recipe to rule them all.
Yes, you are allowed to take a moment to be annoyed with the fact that that picture of Frodo is from the ROTK, not the FOTR. Drives me crazy.

Ingredients - 
  • Enough pie crust to cover 4 to 5 ramekins. I used one crust from Bob's Red Mill gluten free pie crust mix, but it doesn't really matter. Just use the kind you like. 
  • 1 po-tay-toe, boiled till cooked, mashed, stuck in a stew, then chopped into bit-size pieces.
  • 2 carrots, chopped. Try not to break anything when you do this. 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 12 oz of mushrooms! Note: If you aren't thinking mushrooms! in Pippin's voice, you're doing it wrong.
    Also, I used the mushroom! medley from Trader Joe's and recommend that you do this, as well, since it tasted good and was easier that cutting up my own. However, feel free to chop up 12 oz of mushrooms if you don't have access to a Trader Joe's. Try using button, boletus, and oyster mushrooms, or a mix of any kind you like. 
  • 2 sprigs of thyme 
  • 1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of worcesterSHIRE sauce. I realized for the first time while making this dish that the word Shire is in one of my favorite sauces. It's a sign from heaven. Still have no idea how to pronounce worcesterSHIRE, though. 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of celery seeds
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground rosemary 
  • 1 teaspoon of arrowroot mixed with 1 teaspoon of water. This is used as a thickner. If you're not a hippie and don't keep arrowroot on hand, you can use cornstarch. 
Directions - 

1. Preheat your oven to 400. 

2. In a large saucepan, sauté the chopped onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the onions are transparent. Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes on medium high heat. Add the peas, cook for a minute or so, then lower the heat to medium.

3. Add the mushrooms!, thyme, vegetable broth, seasoning, and worcesterSHIRE sauce. Stir and allow to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the arrowroot mixture and cook until there is very little liquid in the mixture, then add the po-tay-toes. At this point, it's going to taste amazing. If you want to stop at this step and eat it as is, I won't judge.
4. Dole out your mixture between your ramekins or oven ware of choice. I should have had enough to fill 4 of my ramekins, but I ate a lot of the filling while waiting for my pie crust to chill. *sheepish grin*

5. Lay a circle of pie crust over each ramekin. Put three slits in the top. Why three? Absolutely no reason. Do whatever number you feel like without making the crust look like it got attacked by Jack the Ripper. Slide into the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until the crust is brown.
No, unfortunately that is not my Hobbit house. My awesome younger brother let me borrow it for photos.
As somebody who thought she hated mushrooms!, I can say that this dish tastes amazing. I'd honestly just eat the filling. The crust is just added fun. I think Farmer Maggot's wife would be proud of this dish.
I guess this just goes to show me that Tolkien was right: You just have to be brave and you can overcome anything. Even your fear of mushrooms!

Okay, maybe that wasn't exactly how he meant for me to take it....

Are you a fan of mushrooms? Tell me about how you like to eat them! And leave your favorite LOTR quote down in the comments section! I'm always thrilled to meet fellow lovers of Tolkien.

Related articles:
Gluten and Dairy Free Seed-cake, Apple-tart, and Nut Round Recipes Inspired by The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Butterbeer Inspired by J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
German Potato Salad Inspired by Andy Weir's the Martian

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  1. "PO-TA-TOES! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew. Nice big, golden chips with a piece of fried fish. Even you couldn't say not to that."

    I love pot pie. The first one I remember really enjoying was in The Eagle and Child, the pub the Inklings used to meet at. There they have the best chicken and mushroom pot pie I've ever had, but I'll definitely have to try your recipe.

    My Mom's always pronounced Worcestershire as woi-ster-shER. Think oyster-sure but with a w. I'm not sure if that's right, but it's what I say. Thanks for another great post! :D

    1. Yep. Every time I'm anywhere near potatoes, I end up using that quote. =D

      That's so epic that you've been to the pub the Inklings went to! That's on my bucket list.

      Thank you for the comment and the tip on pronouncing worcestershire! Now I can stop mumbling the word and say it correctly. =)

  2. YES, THE LUTHIEN THING MY HEART. On their tombstones are engraved "Beren" and "Luthien" and it makes me cry.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. SO cool. I love it when you can see the inspiration behind certain books and characters, especially when that inspiration is super sweet, as is that case with Beren and Luthien.

      Glad you liked this post!

  3. My favorite quote is probably from Gandalf talking with Pippin. He says "End? No the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path, one we must all take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it."
    Thanks for the fun post and the recipe. I'll have to see if my 14-yr-old will eat mushrooms. He doesn't like them. They "burns us precious!" :)

    1. That is one of my favorite quotes, Kandi! So beautiful worded, and the meaning is just as gorgeous.

      Let me know how it goes with your 14-year-old! Hopefully these particular mushrooms won't burn him. =)

      Thank you for commenting!

  4. Hello! I know this is an oldish post but I just had to comment! I am a new reader and I love your blog! I also love lotr and all of Tolkiens work. I am not sure what is my favorite quote, but I love Treebeard so maybe it would come from him.

    1. Hi Rebecca! So sorry for my late response:

      I'm so happy to connect with you! I'm so happy to hear that you like my blog. Put a huge smile on my face! Also: pretty much anything Treebeard says is a favorite of mine as well. =D

      Thank you for the nice comment!


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