I am really and truly not a food snob, unless . . . . you want me to eat “fake” meat. Morning Strips? No thank you. “Chickin’? No thank you.
Maybe this is unfair of me since I’m not a vegetarian and enjoy nothing more that braised short ribs on a cool, winter day. And please, if you love a good slice of Tofurky, don’t be offended! Everyone has their own taste and opinions about food. It’s a personal thing, and for me, well, I think the best choice is always to eat something different, not something pretending to be something it isn’t — like an animal. 😉
I think mushrooms, with their hearty, earthy, and with deep, rich flavor, are the ideal “meat” for vegetarians. Clearly, they’re not a protein substitute, but I think they’re a great culinary substitute.
This dish my friends, might just be for vegetarians, what a great Braised Brisket Stew is to meat eaters.
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 cup thinly sliced brown onion
- 2 medium-sized, finely minced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped, fresh thyme
- 1-1/2 pounds fresh, mixed wild mushrooms, washed, dried and roughly chopped (I used Shitake, Maitake, Oyster & King Oyster)
- ¼ cup dry sherry
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2-1/2 cups vegetable stock
- ½ teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons polenta (coarse cornmeal)
- ¼ cup Crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and place it over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 15 minutes.
- Add the thyme, the remaining olive oil, and mushrooms.
- Turn the heat to medium and sauté the mushrooms until they are very caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low, and add the sherry. Then turn the heat to high and deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping any bits of onion and mushrooms off the bottom of the pan and back into the mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Season with the salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add the salt and dried thyme to the stock and bring to a boil.
- Gradually whisk in the polenta, reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 8 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and the Crème fraîche, Parmesan and butter.
- Stir to blend and either combine the polenta with the mushroom mixture, or serve it beneath them on a large platter.
If you love mushrooms and cooking with them you will also enjoy:
Mushroom and Bacon Savory Pie with Potato Crust
Brown Sage Butter Mushroom Risotto
Thanksgiving Cornbread Stuffing with Sherried Mushroom Satué
Savory Mushroom Polenta Cake
Spicy Marinated, Grilled Portabella Mushrooms