This vegan Mushroom Ragout is the perfect accompaniment to pasta or grilled tofu steaks. It's rich and creamy and full-bodied and will be adored-- I guarantee -- by herbivores and omnivores alike.
I made this mushroom ragout during our trip this past week to Ocean City, Maryland, a gorgeous beach that's just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Washington, D.C.. We had rented a condo close to the beach and it had a great kitchen so I could do what I love best -- relax by cooking some good food. Desi and I grew up close to the sea -- he in Madras, me in Bombay -- and we both have great memories of spending our childhoods at the beach with family and friends. But although Jay lived in Bombay all his life before he came to us, he had never actually seen the sea, which is really ironic because you are never really more than a few miles from the sea anywhere in the city.
It was an amazing experience to see the wonder in his face as he stood in the ocean, holding our hands tight, letting the unpredictable waves lash at his legs. But even more than the sea, he was looking forward to the sand, and making castles in it with his brand new tools. Since he doesn't like doing anything by himself, and he makes friends easily, he soon found a family making a gorgeous sand castle who let him join in. He then wandered around the shoreline looking for sea shells they could decorate the castle with.
Opie traveled with us to Ocean City because, at 13, he is now too old for us to feel very comfortable about leaving him in daycare or even with a housesitter. He needs to get his medications on time each day, and he gets really unhappy and nervous when he doesn't have us around. Although he wasn't allowed on the beach, he did have a good time napping in the condo (he loved the cool, tiled kitchen floor) and taking slow walks around the parking lot.
On to the Mushroom Ragout, which will, seriously, blow your mind. I love the creamy velvet sauce and the meaty bite of the mushrooms with pasta, but this sauce is so versatile you could serve it over almost anything. I love making this with a variety of mushrooms because I love all of those textures, but you can definitely go with just one kind. I used four: crimini, button, enoki and portobello mushrooms.
I know there are many out there who detest mushrooms, but there are some very good reasons why this humble little fungus is considered a superfood and is worth trying. It has potent anti-cancer properties, is chock-full of Vitamin D which is a difficult nutrient to come by in a vegan diet, and is good for your heart. Big bonus, there are many, many varieties of mushroom and each of them is uber-tasty. As you can tell, I have been in love with mushrooms for as long as I can remember and I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would reject them.
Here's the recipe. Au revoir!
Vegam Mushroom Ragout
- 5 cups mushrooms (use any kind or a variety. Chop before using)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 shallots (minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 6 large leaves basil (cut into ribbons)
- ½ cup red wine
- ¼ cup cashews (soaked and blended into a smooth "cream" with 1 cup water)
- 2 tbsp soy sauc (or tamari)
- 2 tbsp parsley (chopped)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
- Add the shallots and garlic and saute until softened and translucent, about five minutes on medium-low heat. Add some salt and ground black pepper as the shallots cook.
- Add the mushrooms and turn the heat to medium-high. Let the mushrooms express all their liquid and let the liquid evaporate.
- Turn off the heat, add the red wine, then turn the heat back on.
- Let the mushrooms cook in the wine until the wine has mostly evaporated. Add the soy sauce or tamari.
- Add 1 cup of water and stir to mix. Bring the sauce to a boil and let it cook 10 minutes.
- Add the basil leaves and the cashew cream. Stir well and let the sauce warm through until it just simmers.
- Turn off the heat and garnish with parsley.
- Serve hot.