Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy

As any scientist will tell you, sometimes experiments go haywire. Liquids boil over, beakers catch on fire, mini explosions occur. Other times, your hunches serve you well and things go your way. The same is true in the kitchen. We all are kitchen chemists, mad culinary scientists looking for something new or interesting to do with the same ingredients and sometimes it all comes together and you feel pretty pleased with yourself.

Exhibit A: Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy.

Yes, this is not what you make when you need to throw dinner together in a hurry. And it looks like a daunting list of ingredients and preparation. It's not really, probably most likely you have everything already in your refrigerator or a well-stocked vegetarian pantry. And if dried porcinis are not a part of your pantry, buy some. They make mushroom meals that much tastier; a few pieces of dried goodness imparts so much flavor.

This is my own recipe, a reasonable guess you could call it. These are the things that were on hand, so maybe if you don't have all of the nuts, you can just make sure there is a cup and a quarter of nuts in the loaf or greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It's really a throwback to hippie food but with lots of zip and pizzaz. While you may be tempted to not make the gravy, talk yourself out of that laziness, the gravy really makes the meal, particularly if you make mashed potatoes to go with it! This to me is the perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving meal, forget about any kind of phony tofurky business!

Wild Mushroom Nutloaf with Porcini Gravy
(serves 6-8)

1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup cotija or feta
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 eggs
1/2 cup onions, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
1 portabello mushroom, diced
1/2 cup fresh porcini or other wild mushroom, diced
4 dried porcini, soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water for at least 20 minutes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons marsala wine
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mild paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup cooked brown rice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add celery and cook another 3 minutes until tender. Add fresh mushrooms and saute until mushrooms give up their juices, 7-10 minutes. Deglaze pan with marsala wine, scraping up all bits stuck to pan. Turn off heat and set aside. Add remaining ingredients, except soaking dried porcinis, to bowl of food processor and pulse to combine. Drain soaking procinis (but save liquid) and mince and add to food processor along with cooked mushroom mixture and pulse to combine. Taste for salt and spoon into 9 inch square or round baking dish, sprayed with cooking oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to rest 5 minutes before cutting and serve with porcini gravy.

Porcini Gravy
(makes 1 cup)

1 portabello mushroom, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 dried porcini, soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup water
2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon miso paste

Saute portabello mushroom in oil over low heat until it softens and darkens. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain porcini and reserve liquid. Mince porcini and add to sauteed portabello. In pan you used for sauteing the mushroom, melt 1 tablespoon butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour until it is absorbed by the butter. Add porcini soaking liquid and whisk until liquid is absorbed by flour butter paste. Turn heat down to simmer. In cup whisk remaining flour in 1/2 cup of cold water until there are no lumps, to create a slurry. Slowly add slurry to simmering liquid in pan, whisking to incorporate, cooking until gravy begins to bubble. Add soy sauce, mustard and miso paste and taste for salt and pepper. If desired, stir in a teaspoon of butter when the gravy is thick to add additional layer of richness.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Zucchini Agrodulce at 101 Cookbooks
Pomodoro Chicken with Garlic Spaghetti at Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice
Corn, Cheddar and Scallion Strata at Smitten Kitchen

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