This meal is hearty enough for a lumberjack, yet plant-y enough for the most devout of vegetarians. It is winter produce heaven in all its purity. (Unfortunately, we can’t go completely vegan here, as the mash really needs the milk.) But still, no meat in sight.
Oh so, so, so, lovely and satisfying on a moony frosty night with fireplace ablaze, dog curled up at a loved one’s feet, maybe a little Tony Bennett crooning in the background. Lena Horne would be nice here, too. Or of course Amy Winehouse.
And remember to keep your glass topped up with a huge, tannic cabernet. Or maybe even a rich B.C. merlot.
ROOT VEGETABLE RAGOUT with CAULIFLOWER & PARSNIP MASH
For the Ragout:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
2 large minced onions.
8 large garlic cloves, minced
3 parsnips, cut into chunks
1 turnip, peeled and cubed
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 potatoes, cubed
Dash of salt and pepper
1 can tomato paste
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or beef if you’re so inclined)
1 19oz can good quality tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (Or bring out your slow cooker)
Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the mushrooms until deep brown and fragrant. Set aside.
Add the onions to the pot, sauté until lightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and heat until aromatic, about a minute. Add the parsnips, turnip, carrots and potatoes. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir the tomato paste and cook together with the vegetables for a couple of minutes. Add the sherry and cook until slightly reduced. Add the broth, tomatoes, worcestershire sauce and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and stir.
Remove from burner and place in oven for a couple of hours. Alternatively, place in a slow-cooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Stir the flour and water together to form a paste. If using slow-cooker increase heat to high. If not, place pot on stove at about medium-high. Stir the flour mixture into the stew, bring to simmer. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the reserved mushrooms and butter, heat for another 5 minutes.
Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Taste and see if it needs another splash of sherry or maybe a bit more salt or pepper.
For the Cauliflower & Parsnip Mash:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces, florets and stems
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut bite-size dice
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pepper
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
In large sauté pan heat the oil until shimmering. Add the cauliflower and parsnip with the salt and pepper. Cook until well browned, 10-15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
Mash the heck out them and serve alongside the Root Vegetable Ragout. You won’t look back.