Saturday, November 12, 2011

no olives tonight

It's a pretty safe bet that Mister and I eat olives almost every day.  They are nearly always an accompaniment to our primarily Mediterranean dinners, so the only times I can think of that we don't have them at the table is when I make an Asian-inspired dish or we're out...which I usually try to time so they fall together.  We did not eat an Asian meal tonight, but we did not eat a Mediterranean meal either... in fact, for many reasons, tonight's dinner was entirely unsuited to olives.

I personally have never seen olives in a pub (unless it's a fancy pub with martinis)...

And tonight I made my Mister his veganized Bangers and Mash:

4 Tofurky Beer Brats
1/2 stick of Earth Balance (or measure 1/4 c from the tub)
1 tsp olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh thyme (or scant 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of red wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1 Tbsp warm water
and for the mash...
2 lbs of Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into manageable chunks
2 Tbsp Earth Balance (1/2 of what remains from your earlier stick or measure from the tub)
1/3 to 1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk (or nondairy "milk" of your preference)

makes 4 servings

To make the gravy sauce, slice the shallots nice and thin, then press the garlic over top of them.  Melt the Earth Balance in a deep saute pan and add the olive oil.  Dump the whole pile of shallots and garlic into the heated oil 'n' EB and stir it up good, being sure to break up the rings of the shallots.

Cook for about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the sugar, stir to coat, and allow to cook another 2 minutes or so.

Sprinkle on the thyme (quick tip: the easiest way to remove fresh thyme leaves from their stalks is by pulling the stalk through your finger(nail)s against the growth of leaves) and pour in your red wine.  Cook gently until reduced to just barely any liquid.

Pour in the vegetable broth and turn up the heat to get it to boil.  Once the stock is boiling somewhat rapidly, turn down the heat so that it's still bubbling gently.  Allow to cook until it's reduced by 80% - this took me about 30 minutes - stirring now and then.  When the gravy is appropriately reduced, stir in the Worcestershire sauce and then the slurry of cornstarch + water.  Turn heat to high and stir constantly until the gravy reaches a fierce, bubbling boil, then reduce heat slightly and continue to stir while it boils gently a few minutes.  Remove from heat.

Now, while you had those 30 minutes that the gravy was reducing, you should have been chopping the potatoes, putting them in a pot and covering them with water + 1", then boiling them until fork-tender (it took me about 10 minutes, but I chop small).  When the potatoes are done, drain them in a fine mesh colander and then dump them in your favorite Martha Stewart Blue mixing bowl.

Add 2 Tbsp of Earth Balance and start with 1/3 cup of soymilk (you can always add more).  Sprinkle on however much salt you think is appropriate (I went with a heaping teaspoon), then mash with a potato masher or fork (or even an electric mixer if you're feeling spunky) until smooth and creamy, adding more milk if necessary.

To serve, place one Tofurky Beer Brat on a plate (you're welcome, Mister), and lay a mountain of mashed potatoes beside it.  Place the gravy bowl on the table with a pretty little ladle and allow your dining partners to put it on their own plates, to taste.

It came out really good.  Mister was thrilled and I was very happy with my heaping mound of mashterpaters.  Mister and I once again remembered that we didn't know which hand held the knife, but we figured it was probably safest for the dominant hand to wield the sharp, pointy utensil.

As I'm sure you can imagine, Angst was also very excited about this "meat and potatoes" dinner.  He was so big-eyed and daring in his begging that Mister couldn't even be mad at him and even gave him a few pieces of his beer brat.

I can't take full credit for this recipe.  Since I was previously unacquainted with Bangers and Mash, I did do some internet research and was delighted to find the UK version of our Food Network, so the recipe above was inspired by and loosely based upon this one, penned by Ed Baines of Market Kitchen fame.

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