Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tempeh and Wild Mushroom Fricassee

Literally meaning "to mince and cook in sauce," a fricassee is any hearty stew in which the ingredient cooks in its own juice.  This vegan version relies on mushrooms and tempeh instead of meat.  It's a deliciously warming meal for a winter night.

  • Cooking spray
  • 12 ounces tempeh
  • 1/4 cup vegan dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 cups thinly sliced leek*
  • 2 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped shiitake mushroom caps
  • 2 (4-inch) chopped portobello mushroom caps, gills removed**
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup celery leaves***
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 and 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (optional for garnish)
1. Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Cut the tempeh into 1/2-inch cubes.  Add to the pan and saute for 8 minutes - it should be golden brown on all sides by the end.  Add the white wine and the soy sauce and cook for 15 seconds, until the liquid is nearly evaporated.  Remove the tempeh from the pan.

2. Add the leeks and all of the mushroom varieties; saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Tie together the celery leaves, the thyme sprigs, and the parsley sprig with string, and add to the pot, along with the garlic and the vegetable broth.  Bring to a boil, then return the tempeh to the pan.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Uncover and cook a final 3 minutes until the stew is thickened.  Discard the herbs, and stir in the lemon juice, salt, and black pepper.  Sprinkle the stew with the chopped parsley.  Ladle 1 cup of stew into each of 6 bowls, and garnish each bowl with about 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, if desired.

*Leeks are a tough veggie to clean thoroughly, since dirt gets in between all the layers.  The easiest method is to slice the leeks first, then place the slices in a colander and rinse with water, as shown. 

**Simply use a spoon to scrape the gills from the underside of the portobello mushrooms with ease.

*** You only need the celery leaves for this recipe, not any celery itself, but you'll most likely have to purchase a full stalk of celery anyway to get the leaves.  Save the celery hearts for appetizers stuffed with Tofutti cream cheese or peanut butter, or to chop up for salads. 

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 cup), Calories 317

Tasting Notes:
Wonderfully earthy and hearty, both from the tempeh and the mushrooms.  I highly recommend the lemon rind garnish, since the pop of lemon flavor was delicious.  I had worried, in reading the ingredient list, that the garlic taste would be overwhelming, but it was surprisingly mellow and subtle.  All in all, quite delicious.


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