Dec 30 2014

Vegan Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco

In our home we are mostly vegan... I am vegan, but my husband labels himself a "Cheagan" which he coined as a "cheating vegan," since when we're out on the town he will usually (ok, always) order meat. Although it is usually easy for me to find or alter a restaurant dish to be vegan for myself, entertaining guests at home sometimes causes a little anxiety — as most of our friends and family are complete carnivores.

While for the most part we always try to follow a healthy and natural diet, in the same spirit as ALOHA — during the holidays, especially, it can be a difficult to find a recipe to please multiple meat-eating guests. More often than not, guests don't understand what being vegan really means and think that all they are going to be served is lettuce, on a bed of lettuce, with a side of lettuce.

The trick to making carnivorous guests feel more comfortable coming over for dinner, is to cook vegetables in such a way so that it seems like they are eating meat — and try not to mention "veggies" at all.  For instance, say you're serving Osso Buco — not the more descriptive Carrot and Mushroom Osso Buco. To the non-vegan, Osso Buco seems exotic, delectable and satisfying — while Carrots and Mushrooms sounds nothing at all like turkey dinner!

After I created this meatless version of the classic Italian dish, Osso Buco — roasted pearl onions, cremini mushrooms and rainbow carrots seasoned and stewed in wine — it has become one of our family’s favorite go-to dishes for both holiday gatherings and dinner parties.  It is not only simple to make, it is also so very flavorful and elegant. I guarantee that you will love it — and your carnivores will never miss the lack of meat.

 Vegan Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb white pearl onions
  • 1 lb heirloom rainbow carrots cut crosswise into 1-1/2 inches thick pieces
  • 20 medium-sized fresh cremini mushrooms, halved
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbs Better than Bullion Vegetable paste
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (no stems)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Vegan Butter such as Earth Balance (approx 1/3 cup)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°.

Step 2: In a large Dutch oven or deep oven-proof skillet, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the pearl onions and cook for 1 minute. Drain and set aside. 

Step 3: Dry the Dutch oven and return to heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots in a single layer, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, turning frequently until browned, (about 5 minutes per side).

Step 4: While the carrots cook, trim and peel the pearl onions.

Step 5: Remove carrots form Dutch oven and set aside.

Step 6: Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the Dutch oven and add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until mostly cooked.

Step 7: Add the pearl onions and continue to cook until onions begin to brown.

Step 8: Return the carrots to the Dutch oven.

Step 9: Sprinkle with the curry powder and cook, stirring a few times, until fragrant, (about 1 minute).

Step 10: Add the wine and simmer over medium high heat for 3 minutes.

Step 11: Add the vegetable broth and vegetable paste. Bring to a boil.

Step 12: Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and transfer to the oven and braise for 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once, until tender.

Step 13: While the carrot mixture is in the oven, peel and quarter the potatoes.  Place them in a pot cover with water and boil until tender.

Step 14: Once potatoes are done, use an electric mixer to quickly whip the potatoes and butter.  Add a generous amount of salt, to taste.

Step 15: Remove the Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco from the oven and season the sauce with salt and pepper, if needed. Set aside.

Step 16: In a bowl, toss the parsley leaves with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Step 17: Spoon whipped potatoes onto dinner plates and form into a saucer shape. Spoon the Osso Buco, including sauce, onto the potatoes.

Step 18: Scatter the parsley leaves over the carrots and serve.

Time Saving Tip: The Carrot & Mushroom Osso Buco can be made a day ahead then reheated gently.

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