Saturday, March 07, 2009

portobello stroganoff with sundried tomatoes and spinach

I've been a vegetarian for about 2 years, and every once in a while, I encounter a dish I completely forgot about. This week it was beef stroganoff. I would never have called stroganoff a favourite dish of mine, but I liked it, and when I found a mushroom version on a menu in Austin, TX, I decided I had to make it. Yesterday's cold weather seemed perfect for thick egg noodles with a warm gravy sauce-- but I amped the nutrition with some added veggies.

I'm sad to say that I don't ever feel like my food blog will take off until I get a decent camera. It's near impossible to take a good detail photo with a digital point-and-shoot in the evening. The ambient light in the kitchen isn't strong enough, and the flash is way too much-- even if I "diffuse" it with a tissue. Any pointers, beyond spending money I don't have, would be much appreciated.

Gravy-based sauces are not quite as easy when you're not cooking with animal fat, but a good roux can take you a long way, and it's definitely a learned skill. This stroganoff is a bit easier because you incorporate the flour into the sour cream-- just remember to temper the sour cream mixture so it doesn't curdle when you add it to the skillet.

This may seem like a lot of ingredients, but assemble them ahead of time-- it all comes together rather quickly.

4 servings dried egg noodles
3T butter (or olive oil)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 large portobello mushroom caps, wiped clean and coarsely diced
+ 1/2 C dried creminis or porcinis, reconstituted in hot water and finely chopped
(reserve mushroom liquid for broth)
2-3 huge handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 C julienned sun-dried tomatoes

for the sauce:
1+ C of veg broth (with mushroom liquid should add up to about 1 1/2 C)
1/2-1 C sour cream
3T all-purpose flour
fresh thyme
1-2T white wine
2-3 healthy dashes of worcestershire sauce
2 T tomato paste

First, set up your pasta water to boil (you'll do it right before you serve) and mix the 3T flour with 1/2-1 C of sour cream in a small glass bowl. Set aside.

In your largest skillet, melt butter over medium heat, and sweat onions and garlic in a large pinch of sea salt. When they start to turn translucent, add both kinds of mushrooms and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme. Sautee for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add in the sundried tomatoes, cook for a few more minutes, then add spinach. Once the spinach is barely wilted, transfer to a dish on the side.... you'll add the veggies back to the sauce later. (Don't forget to fish out the thyme stems!)

Deglaze the skillet with a dash of white wine, making sure to scrape up any bit of cooked onion and mushrooms. Add broth, worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste, bring to a boil, and reduce mixture by 1/3. At this point, turn the heat to very, very low, and temper your sour cream mixture. (If you've never tempered a sauce before, it basically means to stir in a ladle or so of the hot liquid to the sour cream to warm it up before dumping it into the sauce, or else the dairy will curdle in the skillet). Pour the warmed sour cream and flour into the broth, and stir to thicken. It will need to cook for a minute or two to avoid the raw flour taste. Once it's cooked through (feel free to take a taste test!), add the veggies back in, and leave on low heat while you cook your noodles.

Serve over egg noodles and garnish with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves or chopped parsley.

Make your partner do the dishes. Delicious!~

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