It's Sunday, and the alphabet start once more aligned to bring us a booze-infused dinner at the end of the weekend. As tasty as many foods with alcohol in them are, I think it's making me a bit wistful for non-pregnant times; tonight I really would have liked a glass of what I was cooking with: a ruby port!
You know how hard it can be to find out whether normal wine is vegan or not? It turns out there's even less info out there on port and its veganicity. I found every answer possible on the internet, from "maybe" to "maybe not" to "probably" to "probably not" to, of course, "it depends." I think the one I cooked with was "probably" vegan... I'm sure there are sweet reds (essentially what a port is) out there that you could find that are *definitely* vegan and would be similar to cook with but I went with what I had.
Many many years ago (January 2005, according to what I wrote in the cookbook), I made a recipe out of the very not vegan friendly French Farmhouse Cookbook by Susan Loomis. I can't imagine what would have possessed me to make it at the time-- like I told you before, I don't really care for mushrooms and this recipe was basically... mushrooms. In some port. In a pie crust. Really doesn't sound like something I'd be in too. But the crazy thing is, almost 7 years later, I still remember that tart vividly and with great fondness.
Not sure why I never made it again, but when I was thinking through the alphabet challenge and realized P fell on a Sunday, I knew it was Vegan MoFo driven destiny calling! So I veganized the tart, which was quite easy. Here it is:
Mushroom port tart
1 pie crust of your choosing (I used a pre-made whole wheat vegan crust because I'm lazy)
2 tbsps Earth Balance or other vegan butter
2 small shallots, minced
1.5lbs baby cremini or other small mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2c ruby port
1/4c unsweetened soy milk
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
generous grinding of pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 425F, then pre-bake your pie crust. (I pre-baked for 10 minutes. It needs to be cooked pretty much entirely because the tart itself bakes for a very short time.)
2. Meanwhile, melt the vegan butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.
3. Add shallots and saute for 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
4. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are noticeably softer and starting to kind of "melt" and release liquid-- about 8 minutes.
5. Add the port and stir thoroughly. Directly after doing this, mix the soy milk & arrowroot in a separate small container and let sit for a few minutes while the port and mushrooms cook together.
6. After the arrowroot slurry has stood about 5 minutes, add it into the port & mushrooms. Mix thoroughly and cook until liquid thickens & reduces appreciably, about 5 more minutes.
7. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. (Yes, this is a lot of nutmeg. You know how I am with this stuff. Feel free to reduce it as far as 1/4 tsp but don't go any lower than that, the flavor is really integral here.)
8. Pour mushroom-port mixture into your prepared crust and bake for 7 minutes.
You should really let it cool a bit before eating it to get it to set up nicely... we didn't do that, though. We just ate it straight off, which meant that filling slid around a bit and stuff. But you know what? It was heavenly anyway, so who cares? Really, this flavor combination was as absolutely delightful as I remembered, and I somehow managed to eat two big slices of a dish that is essentially nothing but a pile of mushrooms (yuck).
To everyone's surprise, the Emperor a) tried this dish and b) LOVED it. He ate a ton of mushrooms out of the filling and kept marveling, "mushrooms are yummy! mushrooms are so tasty!" and then discovered the crust which just thrilled him to pieces. (I felt the same way about crust as a child. Actually, I still feel more or less the same way about crust. What is better than pastry crust?) It was nice to see him try something new and nice though weird to see how much he liked this. It cracks me up that this kid will eat, oh, kalamata olives, tempeh, and mushrooms in port... but mashed potatoes reduce him to tears. He's a funny guy.
Thank you to the people who linked to me for Liebsters-- I will have to sit down tomorrow and say thank you properly and brainstorm five of my recent favorites!
But for now, I need to head off to bed... this guy's not going to snuggle himself.