Tuesday, September 16, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 16- Garbanzos a'la King

This one comes from the May 2006 McDougall newsletter, and is another oldie but goodie for this family.

Garbanzos a’ la King

Preparation Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes
Servings:  8

1 onion, chopped

½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ cup sliced fresh oyster mushrooms
¾ cup water
1/3 cup unbleached white flour
3 cups soy or rice milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2  15 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1  4 ounce jar diced pimientos
1 tablespoon sherry (optional)
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed in 1/3 cup cold water

Place the onion, bell peppers and mushrooms in a large pot with the water. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Stir in the flour and continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Gradually add the soy or rice milk while stirring.  Add the seasonings, garbanzos, pimientos and sherry, if desired.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add the cornstarch mixture and cook and stir until the sauce thickens.  Serve at once.

Usually I just use 2 boxes (1 pound) of plain old sliced button mushrooms, but our local Stop and Shop recently revamped its produce section (again) and now they sometimes carry some of the more exotic stuff, like oyster mushrooms. I was in luck - they had some when I did my shopping for this dish! I've never cooked them before and had no idea how to clean or slice them. YouTube to the rescue!

Those are ugly looking things! Mine were all squished up in a plastic box, broken up into pieces. And the "root" had round black things attached to it. Were they bugs? Eggs? Part of the root? At least they're better than what this lady has:

Man! This makes me want to toss the whole box into the garbage! Are teeny worms commonly found in these things?? I'm really afraid to use them now! Luckily there were no worms - or at least didn't see any - so I went ahead, washed them as thoroughly as I could, and got them all chopped up into tiny pieces. I actually sat there and watched that cutting board for a good 10 minutes to make sure nothing was going to start crawling around!

That also got me looking really close to the box of crimini mushrooms, and I noticed something different about this package than previous boxes I bought. As mentioned above, the produce section was recently revamped. It looks like part of that upgrade included using a different distributor to get their fresh produce from, because the mushrooms now had a label that said, in really teeny fine print, to wash those sliced mushrooms thoroughly before cooking and not to eat them when raw. I know Dr. Fuhrman says to cook mushrooms, and many people on his forums had posted that they would always eat raw mushrooms in salads before so better stop doing that. I know my grandmother used to use raw mushrooms, too. I see many other places on-line are now saying not to eat raw mushrooms. And now the label says not to do it. But the washing part? They all used to be pre-washed. I wonder how many boxes of sliced mushrooms I used and didn't wash because I assumed they were still pre-washed? Well, I'm still alive, so I guess not many.

Back to those oyster mushrooms and this recipe. I won't be buying them again. To both of us, the dish tasted better when I used 2 boxes of button mushrooms, or one button, one cremini, than it did with these oyster ones. It certainly wasn't worth the $4 I spent for those few ounces of mushrooms.

Changes I did, and usually do, make:

I used frozen sliced tri-color pepper strips and chopped them into a dice instead of fresh peppers.

I no longer have white flour in the house so use white whole wheat in the pan.

Almond milk, not soy, was used. That's the only kind in the house any more, unless I feel energetic and make myself some oat milk.

Yukon Gold potatoes were the starch of choice this time around. Sometimes I use rice, and a few times I used egg-free (but white flour) noodles. Luckily I had some really great potatoes this time. Some cauliflower rounded out the meal.

I used to make this fairly regularly, at least once a month. Then I got lazy and started making simpler dishes, like Jeff Novick's SNAP meals, or Chef AJ's chili or pea soup. This is also a richer dish than the others, another good reason not to make it so often. But we really enjoyed it while we had it, and this is now in the running for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Without possibly wormy oyster mushrooms, that is.

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