"...the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school."
~ As You Like It, 2/7.147
Why, yes - it is the first day of school! And in honor of this auspicious occasion and the associated change of seasons, I present a recipe for something that is not a salad. As we bid summer adieu and embark on a new semester, comfort foods become increasingly appealing: the evenings draw in, thoughts turn to warm sweaters and falling leaves, and there are few things that say "cozy autumnal dinner" like a plate of creamy, mushroomy stroganoff. In previous posts, I've talked about what seminal texts Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook and Anna Thomas' The Vegetarian Epicure (to which we owe the image above) were for me as an adolescent vegetarian just beginning to explore the kitchen. Both books feature a strong Eastern European influence, and I still love the earthy flavors in those long-ago-bookmarked recipes (although I've since replaced the eggs and dairy with more compassionate alternatives). This one has everything you need to feel hugged from the inside, and it also has the quick preparation time so attractive on busy weeknights. So what are you waiting for? Go hang up your new backpack, change out of your school clothes, and start cooking - it'll be dark soon! (NB that although this dish is traditionally served with noodles, it's also good with rice, and we've had extremely happy results spooning it over mashed potatoes.)
~ 2 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 tbsp. bouillon (I like Better Than Bouillon's "no beef" flavor)
~ 1 bay leaf
~ 1 tbsp. each: Earth Balance, olive oil
~ 1 medium yellow onion, diced
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 10 oz. package brown mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas)
~ 2 tsp. dill
~ 1 tsp. each: sweet paprika, smoked paprika, parsley, marjoram
~ 1/2 - 1 tsp. salt (depending on the saltiness of your bouillon)
~ A few generous grinds of black pepper
~ 1 tbsp. flour
~ 1 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tsp. Marmite
~ 2 8 oz. packages Gardein or Trader Joe's beefless strips
~ 1 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt
~ 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
~ In a bowl or beaker, combine the soy milk, the bouillon, and the bay leaf. Cover and microwave until hot, and set aside.
~ In a large, deep skillet, sauté the onions and garlic over medium high heat for about three minutes.
~ Add the mushrooms and dry seasonings, and cook another 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms have released their moisture.
~ Add the flour and stir for a minute or two.
~ Remove the bay leaf from the soy milk/bouillon mixture, and begin adding to the vegetable mixture, stirring constantly.
~ Add the Worcester sauce, the Marmite, and the "beef." Turn the heat to low and continue cooking about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
~ Stir in the yogurt and fresh parsley, and cook just long enough to make sure the whole business is heated through. Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.