Sherry Baby (Sherried Baby Portobello & Walnut Loaf)

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When I was in my early 20s, living in a big, green, ramshackle  co-op house in South Evanston, vegetarian was really how you cooked, if you cooked at all (raw food was already how we ate most of the time), and the best meals were communal. One recipe I loved back then was for a mushroom-walnut loaf that had great texture and flavor. Long since lost, I felt the recipe needed revisiting, so I’ve done so! A mix of baby portobello (crimini) mushrooms, onions, sherry and walnuts baked into a loaf with sage and parsley, this is a moist and meaty meal. It’s really good topped with a mushroom gravy made with more criminis, onion, sherry and stock, and served with some mashed potatoes and garlic spinach on the side. I have served this at Thanksgiving several times now for the non-turkey eaters.

Makes 1, 9 x 5 loaf; 8 servings

Sherried Crimini & Walnut Loaf Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 12 oz crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms, chopped fine
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup medium dry sherry
  • salt & freshly-cracked pepper to taste
  • 5 or 6 dried sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups moistly-cooked brown rice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (omit the yolks if you like)
  • 1/2 cup (or up to 1 cup, if you like the finished loaf crunchier) finely-chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Mushroom Gravy Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 6 ounces crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup medium-dry sherry
  • 2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups good-quality vegetable stock
  • salt & freshly-ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with coconut oil spray or vegetable oil spray.
  2. In a heavy skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add mushrooms and onions. Stir well; saute, covered, for five to 10 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and onions soft and transparent, and there is little liquid left in the pan. Add 1/2 cup sherry and stir, sauteing until a just bit of the sherry has been absorbed into the mix.
  3. Season to taste with salt (I use fresh-ground pink Himalayan) and freshly-ground pepper
  4. Stir in the parsley; crush the sage and stir in. Saute two minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine mushroom mixture with cooked brown rice, chopped walnuts, wheat germ and oat bran. Stir in eggs and mustard.
  6. Preheat oven to 350. Press mixture into prepared loaf pan. Cover surface with parchment paper; cover loaf pan with foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove foil & parchment and bake for five more minutes. Remove from oven when finished and let rest.
  7. While loaf bakes, make gravy. Heat grapeseed oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and mushroom until very soft and most of the cooking liquid has been absorbed. Add 1/3 cup sherry and saute for two more minutes.  Remove mixture to a bowl. Melt butter or coconut oil in skillet; whisk in flour and toast until slightly browned; whisk in vegetable stock until thickened into a nice gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour mushroom mixture back into skillet and stir with the gravy. Keep warm.
  8. When ready to serve, invert mushroom walnut loaf on to a serving platter. Slice. Serve piping hot with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and garlic spinach.

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