Braised Brains with Browned Mushroom Sauce Vegan Style
¼ c. finely diced carrots
¼ c. finely diced celery
¼ c. finely diced Vegan bacon
4 Tb Vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
Herb bouquet: 3 tsp Parsley, ¼ tsp Thyme and 1 Bay leaf tied in cheese cloth
1/8 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper
1 Head of Cauliflower, leaves removed, cut the head in half
Wok or deep skillet
1 c. dry white wine
1 c. vegetable broth or bouillon dissolved in 1 c. hot water
Brown Mushroom Sauce:
1 Tb cornstarch blended with 1 Tb dry white wine
1 Tb tomato paste
½ lb. finely diced fresh mushrooms sautéed in Vegan butter
¼ c diced Vegan bacon
1 Tb Fresh Parsley – optional
1 Tb Fresh Tarragon – optional
Cook the diced vegetables and Vegan bacon slowly in the butter with the herb bouquet and seasonings for 10 to 15 mins, until tender but not browned.
Arrange the 2 halves of the cauliflower head in a wok or deep skillet, turning over and then turning over again to coat with butter mixture, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook slowly for 3 mins. Turn and cook for 3 mins more. Remove the cauliflower.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Pour the wine into the wok or skillet with the vegetables and boil down rapidly until the liquids have reduced to ½ cup. Gently add the cauliflower and gently turn them completely once in the liquid. Add the bouillon broth.
Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover with foil and place on lower rack in oven. (If you are using a wok and it has wood handles, wrap the handles in foil.) Regulate the heat so it cooks at the barest simmer for 10 mins.
Remove the cauliflower halves, and gently slice each ½ in ½ again. You should have 4 quarters.
Rapidly boil down the cooking stock in the wok to 1 ½ cups. Remove from heat and discard the herb bouquet. (The braising vegetables, liquid and vegan bacon remain and become a part of the sauce)
Beat in the starch mixture and the tomato paste. Stir in the sautéed mushrooms and additional Vegan bacon. Simmer for 3 mins, stirring. Gently add quarters of cauliflower to warm for 1 min. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Place a quarter of cauliflower in the center of a plate with a ring of cous cous, or risotto around it. Ladle a cup of vegetables and liquid over the cauliflower. Sprinkle with optional fresh herbs.