So it's 2017! Crazy, right? The end of 2016 was a blur of family, friends, and so. much. food.
I will admit that I did not indulge as much as I usually do this holiday season. But, that doesn't mean that I abstained. Au contraire. I ate an entire carton of candy cane ice cream, ok? So, we are all filled to the brim with sweets, alcohol, meat, cheese and all of the other delicious things that make life worth living. And, as wonderful as it was, it's time to get back on track.
In the spirit of clean eating, this hearty, warming vegetable ragout is a delicious and healthy alternative to a traditional meat ragout but, rest assured, it's not lacking in any flavour. The catch here is that the dried mushrooms in this recipe add a meaty, rich flavour whic can't be replicated with any other vegetable source. The good news for you is that you can find dried mushrooms at any supermarket.
Wishing you a delicious 2017.
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
500g mushrooms - chopped
1 onion - minced
2 carrots - diced
1 stalk celery - diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cloves garlic - minced
2tbsp dried mushrooms - soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and chopped
1 cup cooked lentils (you can use canned lentils but please rinse and drain them)
1 zucchini - chopped
5-6 large chard leaves - chopped into 1 inch pieces
5-6 chard stems - chopped into small dice
1 large can whole tomatoes
3/4 cup red or white wine
1 tbsp fresh oregano
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp ground fennel
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 tsp butter (optional)
salt & pepper to taste
handful fresh basil leaves
1. in a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
2. add fresh mushrooms and cook until browned, stirring regularly. 4-5 minutes.
3. add chilli flakes, onion, carrot, celery, lemon zest, chard stems and tomato paste. sautee for 15 - 20 minutes until vegetables are slightly softened and tomato paste turns a darker red colour.
4. add dried mushrooms, garlic, zucchini, and cook 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. season with salt and pepper.
5. deglaze the pot with wine and the strained mushroom soaking liquid, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pot.
6. add lentils, canned tomatoes, fresh oregano, dried oregano, fennel, bay leaf and water or stock.
7. bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. simmer for 20 minutes.
8. add chopped chard leaves and continue to simmer for 15 more minutes, until thickened and flavourful.
9. stir in 1 tsp butter - if using - and check for seasoning - adjusting to your tastes.
10. finish with fresh basil leaves and serve over spaghetti.