I want to talk about ‘shrooms.
When I was writing Tenderheart, it was easily the chapter I got the most carried away with. At one point, I had over 20 recipes just for the mushroom chapter! For vegetarians, they are our foundational vegetable because not only do they possess really intense, multi-dimensional flavours, they also deliver texture and body to dishes. When thinking about mushrooms, don’t forget about the dried varieties, which hold even more concentrated flavours. When I was younger, I only ever knew dried chinese shiitake mushrooms, which we call doong gu in Cantonese - they are robust and chewy and unapologetically savoury. My mother would soak a batch every morning, ready for the day’s meals. The soaking water becomes the easiest stock (or dashi) that you will ever make. Use it as you would vegetable stock, in sauces, stews, soups. It’s very nice in congee.
This month’s recipe is a mushroom cobbler. It’s a savoury take on sweet, fruity cobblers, which are a popular summer time dessert in America. They are usually made of juicy stone fruit or berries, and topped with either a ‘biscuit’ dough or a cake-like batter; my version is the latter.
But first, before we cook, here is some news updates and are some of the latest recipes that have been published elsewhere.
This harissa roasted sweet potato and red onion dish is a beautiful side dish. So simple yet full of flavour, make it more substantial by adding roasted chickpeas, lentils or a robust leaf like radicchio.
I know very little about Thanksgiving and don’t have an affinity to it’s foods, but I do love Thanksgiving vegetables, so I was very excited to create this magnificent vegetarian Thanksgiving menu for Bon Appétit. My basic inspo was taking traditional Thanksgiving veg like sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, and Brussels sprouts, and remixing them into a dish that felt modern and most importantly, delicious. The recipes are in the Thanksgiving Issue of Bon Appétit or if you are a subscriber, they are here.
For those who love cooking on a sheet pan, Kristen Miglore kindly shared an excerpt from her new book Simply Genius, my recipe for Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Chili Crisp and Baby Bok Choy. It’s a super quick mid week meal, with lots going on in the flavour department.
In Australia, it is mango season, and I have this bouncy and fresh mango and cabbage rice vermicelli salad over at ABC Everyday. I have such tender memories of the first mango of the season, and the joy of the first bite.
Thank you to everyone who has already preordered Tenderheart. I’m so overwhelmed by the excitement over this book about vegetables. Everywhere I go, people are talking about the book and excited to dive in. Veggie lovers are uniting! For those in USA and the northern hemisphere, next Spring will be a very delicious time. For those who want to preorder now and show their support, you can do so in USA here, in Canada here, or at your local bookstore. Remember, there will be preorder bonuses announced later on, so keep your receipts or online order numbers.
And I love to see all the delicious Tenderheart meals that Aussies are cooking up! It’s also fun to see which recipes are your favourites. This morning, I received a message from a reader who thanked me for the celery chapter. YES!!! I can’t quite explain how happy that message made me!
THIS MONTH’S RECIPE
Inspired by the cake-style cobblers where seasonal fruit such as juicy peaches and berries are topped with a light batter, this rendition transforms the cobbler into a savoury story. Mushrooms are perfumed with bold mix of herbs and then blanketed with a light, cheesy batter which forms a lid, trapping all the shroominess within. Use any variety of mushrooms you like - even everyday buttons are fine for this dish but using a mix of them adds nice textures. This recipe allows the deep savouriness of mushrooms to shine and also comes with convenience - the fluffy cakey batter providing the perfect canvas to mop up the mushroom juices. This dish is particularly wonderful because even though it comes together simply, it feels special enough to add to a celebration table.
You can make this recipe as is, or make it your own. Some suggestions:
add some cherry tomatoes to the mushrooms
stir some greens like spinach or chopped kale through the mushies
stir a few tablespoons of cottage cheese or creme fraiche through the mushrooms for a creamier finish
for added depth, stir a tablespoon of miso paste through the mushrooms
if you don’t have almond flour/meal, you could substitute with another nut flour such as pistachio or hazelnut. The nut flour adds a nice lightness and flavor but you could replace with flour, if you like.
Gluten free. For dairy free, use vegan butter and cheese.
2 tablespoons vegan or dairy butter (salted or unsalted)
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
1 leek, white and green parts finely sliced and washed well
900g (2 pounds) mixed small mushrooms, trimmed (leave whole)
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
15 sage leaves, finely sliced
½ teaspoon red chilli/pepper flakes
salt and black pepper
½ cup vegetable stock
handful of soft herbs such as parsley, chives or dill, to serve
cottage cheese, to serve
140g (1 cup) gluten free cup-for-cup flour
55g (1/2 cup) almond flour or almond meal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt and black pepper
250ml (1 cup) milk, any unsweetened non-dairy or dairy variety
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegan or dairy butter (salted or unsalted), melted
50g (½ cup) grated cheddar or other hard cheese
Heat a large skillet on medium high. Add the butter and when melted, toss in the celery, reduce heat to medium, and stir for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add all the mushrooms, garlic, herbs, red chilli/pepper flakes, 1 tsp salt and a few turns of black pepper. Stir. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have released some liquid and look juice. Turn off heat and add the vegetable stock.
Preheat oven to 180˚C / 350˚F.
Meanwhile, make the batter by combining the flour, almond flour or meal, baking powder, salt and a few turns of black pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
In another bowl or jug, add the milk, eggs and melted butter and whisk to combine.
Add the milk and egg mixture to the flour mixture and fold together until well combined.
Place mushrooms into an ovenproof dish (if you cooked your mushrooms in an ovenproof skillet, you can leave the mushrooms in the pan) and pour or dollop the batter evenly on top.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the batter is golden on top and the mushrooms are bubbling around the sides.
To serve, top with soft herbs of your choice and dollop some cottage cheese on the side
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Yum this sounds delicious!!
Thanks for your reply!