The most annoying thing about the vegetarians of yesteryear was definitely their insistence that Chk’n tastes just like chicken or that millet burgers with mashed lentils are just as juicy as real burgers.
Luckily, todays vegetarians are finally telling it how it really is. Do meat-free versions of things taste like the real thing? Of course not, but they are DELICIOUS in their own right. As I’ve mentioned many times, I am an omnivore, but I try very hard to limit my meat consumption and eat plenty of vegetarian meals and this is one of my favorites.
- 1 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/5lbs mushrooms (any combo of Cremini, Baby Bella or Portobello); finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 1 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Parmesan cheese
Combine Porcini mushrooms and boiling water in a bowl; cover and let stand 20 minutes or until soft. Drain porcini in a colander lined with a paper towel over a bowl, reserving liquid. Rinse and chop porcini.
Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, some salt and pepper. Cook until onion is softened a golden brown about 10 minutes. Add garlic, cook one minute
Add mushrooms, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a little more salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are softened, about 10 minutes. Add porcini; cook 1 minute.
Add tomato paste; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
Add reserved porcini liquid, wine, vegetable broth, oregano, thyme and bay leaves.
Reduce heat; simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes as necessary.
Stir in milk; cook 2 minutes.
Some notes about this recipe:
Remove bay leaves, serve over whole wheat pasta with plenty of grated parmesan cheese.
Make sure to chop the mushrooms fine (and roughly) which will mimic the texture of ground beef or pork.
I realize that Porcini’s are very expensive, but if at all possible I’d encourage you to not omit them. Along with their broth they give a rich, earthy flavor to this recipe.
Though I think the addition of milk at the end adds a bit more richness, it, along with the cheese, could easily be left out to make this recipe vegan.