Monday, November 14, 2011
Portobello Mushroom Steaks
Pondering dinner options one night, Rick said, How about portobello burgers and sweet potato fries? Since my husband is still "vegan between parties," and we haven't been to any parties lately, I took this to mean he was in the mood for something on the "meaty side" of vegan. I agreed that sounded pretty good, and it would have been good, except that once I got going, I changed it all around to where it was more like a steak dinner, worthy of a good cabernet, than a mere burger bite with a beer.
With two big beautiful portobello mushrooms to work with, the wheels started turning quickly. Tucking thin slices of fresh garlic between the fins, I next made a big batch of marinade. Coating the rounded surface of the mushrooms, and filling the finned side, I left them to soak it up while I started some polenta.
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 c red wine
2 tsp powdered mustard
2 T vegan worcestershire (Annie's Naturals makes a good one)
It takes a while (and some muscle power) to make polenta from scratch, but it's really easy, and so much better than the kind you buy in a tube. For two people, start with a cup of organic dry polenta and 3 cups of veggie broth or water. Heat to a boil, then reduce to low, and stir in some dried basil, a little salt, and some chopped walnuts. Cook slowly, stirring fairly constantly until it's thick and creamy. You might need to add more broth as you go, allowing the polenta to cook to a soft consistency.
Between stirs, you can chop up a simple green salad and mix up a creamy-cheesy dressing made from nut cheese, a spoonful of vegan mayo, nut milk, a little vinegar, and garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
When the polenta is done, cover it and remove it from the heat. Now heat up a grilling pan and drain excess marinate from the inside of the mushrooms. When the grill pan is hot, give it a quick shot of cooking oil spray, and gently press the mushrooms onto the pan, round side down. After a few minutes they'll begin to soften and droop a little bit. Check the underside, looking for nice grill marks, but no burning. Flip the mushrooms and cook a few more minutes. They should take about 10-12 minutes total.
While the mushrooms are grilling, pour the remaining marinade into a small sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil, and continue to boil, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, to reduce some of the liquid. This makes a wonderful, intensely flavored sauce for the finished dish.
To serve, spread a thick layer of polenta on part of the plate, and top with a mushroom. Finish with the reduced sauce, and serve with green salad topped with sliced avocado, and maybe a sprinkle of seeds or nuts.
Slice and marinate the mushrooms, and sauté them instead of grilling them.
Add a little flour to the sauce to make it more of a gravy.
Serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes instead of polenta.
Serve the mushrooms burger-style, on whole grain buns, with salad and sweet potato fries.
(Great idea, Rick!)