I've mentioned here before that I work in Reading Terminal Market, but I don't often have much to say about it here -- in part because the food I work with is some of the most non-vegan items I can think of: we serve lots and lots of seafood. But lately, I've been thinking about ways to vegan-ize the menu items that I've come to know so well. This soup in particular seemed to be the easiest way to start trying, and it was certainly one that has intrigued me since my start there. We constantly have customers sharing with us their long history of serving similar stews at home and it seems its rich traditional ties are part of what make this dish really special.
1 package (about 8 oz) oyster mushrooms, trimmed
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced and quartered
2 stalks green onion, chopped
2-3 tbsp Earth Balance
1/4 cup mushroom broth (I used pre-made from Whole Foods)
1 1/2 - 2 cups almond milk
salt and pepper, to taste
paprika for garnish
Gently heat the Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet onion and saute until soft and slightly browned. Add mushrooms and most of the green onion, reserving some for garnish. Saute another 5 minutes until mushrooms are softened. Lower heat slightly and add the mushroom broth, almond milk and salt and pepper. Be careful to heat the milk slowly. Add more Earth Balance if desired. Allow stew to gently simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve with green onion and paprika for garnish.
The simplicity of this recipe is surely part of its appeal, but the rich flavor is what really makes it a treat. I have to admit that I wasn't always a huge fan of mushrooms, but I'm starting to learn more about how versatile they can be and their wide range of textures and flavors. The oyster mushroom here is a new favorite of mine and works perfectly with this recipe as a stand-in for shellfish. The consistency is so similar that I'm already imagining ways to use it in some of my old favorite seafood recipes (or perhaps more vegan-ized versions of what we serve at work). I've seen an oyster mushroom po' boy around before and I'm thinking that might be up next.