Salads & Suppers, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Mushroom & Merlot Stew

 

I am lovebombing mushrooms before they are swallowed up by Spring. Mushrooms have to be one of the most sophisticated and understated veggies we’re not eating. They are the Woody Allen of the grocers  – hardly overburdened by good looks, but scrumptious and uniquely nourishing all the same.

Mushrooms bring great depth to dishes as well as inimitable flavour profiles. Often ‘shrooms can make a stealthy replacement for meat, like in this recipe. Apart from their meaty, lip-dancing taste, mushrooms of all sorts like to fangirl our immune system. Especially shiitake.

For hundreds of years, Chinese doctors have prescribed shiitake mushrooms to boost white blood cell activity. A unique polysaccharide found in shiitake – the beta glucan – has shown to tickle the immune system by activating cytokines and killer T-cells. Oooh argh. Kind of like a fascinating immune system defibrillator. More clinical trials are under way to understand the medicinal effect polysaccharides can offer our bodies.

 

 

This mushroom and merlot stew uses bone broth to help it sing. But this ain’t no singsong. Think opera. We serve it with mash, and a dot of horse radish yoghurt. My BAE. (Okay, so this teenspeak is normally a reference point for Justin Bieber’s abs, or bare-chested members of One Direction. Grand so. Except when you get to my age, food will excite you more).

 

Mushroom and merlot stew

Serves 12, freezes well

 

6 tablespoons ghee, butter or olive oil

2 large onions, peeled and diced

4 fat cloves of garlic

4 beetroots, peeled and chopped

3 bay leaves

5 sprigs of thyme

3 cups (750ml) merlot or other dry red wine

8 cups (2 litres) really good vegetable stock or bone broth

1 tin of anchovies, chopped (leave out for vegetarians)

8 big handfuls of wild mushrooms

4 tablespoon grated ginger (optional)

2 tablespoons kuzu or arrowroot

 

For the horseradish yoghurt:

4-6 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

1 large tub natural or Greek yoghurt

Handful of fresh parsley

 

Heat 2 tablespoons of your preferred fat in your largest, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until glassy.

Tumble in the chopped beets, bay leaves, thyme and let them socialise for 5 minutes on a low flame while you get going on the shrooms (method below). Then pour the merlot, stock and anchovies into the pot. Let the pot gurgle for 60 minutes until the beets are tender. Leave the lid off and let the alcohol escape. This might sound counter-intuituve if you’re Irish, but trust me. You don’t want alcohol in this.

To prep the shrooms, slice into bite-sized chunks or leave whole if small. Heat the rest of your chosen fat in a large frying pan, lower the heat and cook the mushrooms until tender and caramelised. I do this in batches while the stew bubbles. Season the mushrooms, and parachute them into the pot. Simmer until tender.

Dissolve the kuzu or arrowroot with 2 tablespoons of cold water and add to the pot 10 minutes towards the end of cooking to thicken the broth. At this point, you can also grate some ginger into the pot and let it gently simmer until the beets are tender.

Serve with fabulously spicy horseradish yoghurt, creamed potatoes, or chickpea mash.

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Elle Magazine in Canada for originally publishing this recipe over Yuletide. Yez are The Snazz, Elle Canada!

 

 

 

 

Breakfast

The Brew: COUGH AND COLD REMEDY

Carrageen is an Atlantic seaweed available in trendy supermarkets across Ireland. Californian hipsteratti like to call it Irish moss, and use it to set vegan desserts in place of verboten animal gelatin. So it’s not surprising that, when boiled, carrageen has an Angel Delight texture to salve achy throats. My little ones think this Cough and Cold Dynamite is a jelly dessert, administered from a spoon. Granted, their taste buds are probably shot when they’re fighting a cold.

It’s unclear whether the antimicrobial effect is from the raw honey, vinegar, turmeric, ginger or wild carrageen. There’s evidence to suggest that each of these sonic ingredients harbour their own deadly ninja moves. Not that I care much, so long as my cough is fixed.

Treating yourself with your mind is also a great recipe. If the placebo effect can account for up to a 48 per cent improvement in symptoms during some clinical trials, it’s not unfair to suggest that our minds are in fact the best superfood du jour. Such a state of affairs can really ruin a coffee break at a medical conference.

The idea that your brain can stimulate healing is hardly new. But it’s certainly worth remembering our brain’s currency in the healing process. If our emotional selves can help convince our physical selves that a fake treatment is the real thing — the placebo effect — just think of the amazing benefits and possibilities we all hold for our future wellness. Wish yourselves well, my friends!

The Brew

Makes 2 mugs

Carrageen is a type of Irish mossy seaweed available in loads of Irish supermarkets like Supervalu, and certainly in all good health stores.

  • Roughly 20g packet of Carrageen moss
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon

Optional add-ons

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • Crack of black pepper
  • Other citrus fruits
  • 1 teaspoon minced turmeric root, or dried turmeric

1. Soak the carrageen in water for 30 minutes to rehydrate it. Remove, discard liquid, and rinse under the cold tap. Boil the carrageen in a large saucepan with the cloves and around 750ml of fresh water. Secure a lid on it.

2. After 20-30 minutes, strain the “ocean veg” brew and allow the liquid to cool to lip temperature before stirring in the remaining ingredients and optional add-ons.

3. The brew will set like lemon curd once cooled. If (or when) this happens, gently re-heat. If your cough is particularly chesty, make several batches with added ginger zest and sip all day, with the aid of a couple of Woody Allens.

For kids:

Add extra honey, making sure it’s locally sourced. Administer by the spoon to help with their bark! A few teaspoons a day is plenty. Not suitable for babies.

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Until next time! Have a lickety-good week,

Love Susan