- 6 tablespoons grape seed oil (or other neutral oil), plus more for greasing the ramekins
- 4 large shallot lobes, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 medium leeks (white part only), chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, plus extra thyme sprigs for garnish
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 pounds mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, portobello and shiitake), stemmed, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 6 tablespoons spelt flour or whole-wheat flour (may substitute all-purpose flour)
- 2 cups stout or other dark, heavy beer
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari or other soy sauce
- 2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease eight 8-ounce ramekins or the baking dishes of your choice (see headnote) with a little oil and set on a baking sheet.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the leeks and all but 1 teaspoon of the thyme to the pot and cook for another 2 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped mushrooms to the pot all at once. Cook until the mushrooms are collapsed, tender and glistening, about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, stir and cook for about a minute, until the flour no longer tastes raw.
Pour the stout into the pot, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the vinegar and tamari. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is gently bubbling and cook until the liquid is reduced and as thick as gravy, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the olives and chopped parsley. Season the mixture lightly with salt and pepper.
Divide the mushroom mixture among the ramekins. Layer the sweet potato slices on top, overlapping the rounds as you go, until there are 2 solid layers of sweet potatoes on each dish. Brush the sweet potatoes with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and sprinkle equally with the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the 1 teaspoon of pepper and the remaining chopped thyme.
Cover the ramekins with heavy-duty aluminum foil and bake the potpies for 30 to 40 minutes or until the mushroom mixture is bubbling and the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove the foil, turn the oven to broil, and return the pot pies to the broiler for just a minute or two, until the sweet potatoes are nicely browned. (Watch carefully, so they don’t burn.) Garnish with the thyme sprigs. Serve hot. 8 servings
Adapted from a recipe by Laura Wright on TheFirstMess.com