Portobello Pot Roast


My friend and I have been trying to figure out a good substitute dish for our mother’s pot roasts. I tried a tempeh version of my mother’s recipe but it was just not right. When I read through my copy of The Plant-Based Journey, I found the most amazing idea – portobello pot roast! Freakin’ brilliant. If you want to see the original recipe, go to A Virtual Vegan’s blog or buy the book.

The keys to this amazingness are the wine (be sure to use one that you would actually drink), the Worcestershire sauce and the fresh herbs. I love savory and rosemary but feel free to use herbs like parsley, sage and thyme. You can also use vegetable stock instead of water, adjusting salt as needed. And, I made this all in my Dutch oven, but if you dont’ have one, you can still make this! Follow the recipe, get the vegetables started on the stovetop, and then transfer everything into a baking dish.

Remember, cooking is more art than science. Vegetable sizes differ so use what you can find and just make the whole dish look pretty and proportioned. I like to err on the side of more mushrooms so I use 5 but you can use 4 or even 6. I love carrots so I might throw in another small one. And, if you like parsnips, they work well too!

So, as you can see this dish is versatile and lends itself to your preferences. The most important thing is that it is one of those “wow” dishes that vegans and non-vegans will love (assuming they like mushrooms!)

serves 4 to 6

4 to 6 portobello mushrooms
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 to 2 Russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups good red wine, divided
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chickpea flour
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs savory
1 sprig rosemary
Salt, a few pinches

Preheat the oven to 350.

Gently wipe the portobellos clean with a paper towel. Remove the stems and turn them on the their backs so the gills are facing up. Slice them into thick pieces – each should yield like 4 to 5 pieces.

Add the portobellos to the pot – dry. Over medium heat, cook them until they start to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Stir them around gently with a wooden spoon to make sure they all get cooked a bit.

NOTE: if the portobellos are really big and it seems like they won’t all cook down in one shot, cook half of the them, take them out, then cook the other half. Put the first half back in and proceed to the next step.

Add 1/2 cup of wine into the pot and cook for about 2 minutes until the mushrooms have absorbed some of the wine. Use a spider strainer to remove them from the pot and set aside.

Slice the onions into bite size chunks. Press the garlic.

Add the onions and garlic to the pot, with the leftover wine, and stir around. Cook for a few minutes. Season with a pinch of salt.

Peel and cut the carrots and potatoes into bite size chunks, roughly the same size. Add the carrots and potatoes. Stir around to coat with the wine. Season with a pinch of salt.

Pull the savory and rosemary off the stems and give them a rough chop. Drop about half of the herbs into the mix and toss around. Let the vegetables cook on a medium heat while you proceed to the next step.

In a small pot, add 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of water. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour and 2 tablespoonsWorcestershire sauce. Add the herbs and bring to a quick boil. Continue to whisk for another minute to be sure the flour has dissolved and there are no lumps.

Layer the mushrooms on top of the vegetables. Pour the sauce over everything. Cover the pot and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are easily pierced with a fork.

This dish is gorgeous and tasty right out of the oven. But I think it tastes even better after it has had time to sit for a bit. I like to keep it covered and leave it out on the counter (or on the stovetop but not on a flame) and then reheat it later in the day.

Leftovers will last for a good few days even if the colors get a little dark from the wine. No worries, just garnish it with a fresh sprig of rosemary for color!

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