Monday, March 8, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes with Shallots, Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic, and Thyme

This dish takes a while in the oven, so save it for a night where you have time to sit back and relax, preferably with a glass of red wine in hand! The original recipe deemed this a side dish, but I think a double-portion can be the centerpiece of a vegan meal, with a side salad and some crusty bread to round things out.

Start by removing the white papery outer skin from 2 whole heads of garlic (but don't peel the cloves, or separate them). Wrap each head of garlic separately in aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes before separating the cloves and squeezing out the pulp, otherwise you'll burn your fingers! The original recipe said you would wind up with about 2 tablespoons pulp total, but I had double that! It leads me to believe that my garlic heads were bigger than average. If the same happens to you, either discard any extra garlic pulp, or save it for another use.

Combine the 2 tablespoons garlic pulp in a blender with 1 and 1/4 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (use 1 teaspoon dried thyme, if you prefer), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper; process until smooth and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons minced shallot and saute 3 minutes. Add 1 and 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms and saute an additional 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and cook a final minute - the liquid should be nearly all evaporated. Set aside.

Note: the original recipe didn't specify what type of mushroom to use, so I used standard button mushrooms. I would imagine this dish would be yummy with any variety you choose though, so vary it up with cremini, oyster, or shiitake mushrooms instead!

Slice 1 pound of Yukon Gold potatoes into thin slices. Arrange one-third of the potatoes in the bottom of an 8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread half the shallot mixture over that layer of potatoes. Repeat the layers - one-third potatoes, the second half of the shallot mixture, the final third of potatoes. Pour the soy milk mixture evenly over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Pecorino Romano (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). Bake a final 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving, then divide into 4 equal servings of about 1 cup each. Each serving is 170 calories. Double up the portions, as I mentioned at the beginning, if you're making this your entree instead of a side dish!

An interesting note on the origins of the word 'scalloped'. It originally referred to scallops themselves, creamed and served in the shell. However, over time it came to refer to any creamy casserole dish, and didn't contain seafood at all - and here we are today with scalloped vegan dishes.

garlic heads $1.05
shallots $1.64
plain soy milk $2.49
fresh thyme $2.49
Yukon Gold potatoes $1.50

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance