This is something that I would make for me and me alone. My man isn’t a lover of mushrooms and seriously? How is it that none of my peeps see the gloriousness of the things-on-toast meal?! It’s a dish that lets me doctor up what I have by employing some other things that I have when there’s a golden pocket of me-time available. A thoughtful and meditative slap-dash, if you will.
I’m generally into this tray-lunch thing as of late. I roast a bunch of things with herbs, lemon, spice, or whatever’s around. Sometimes I transfer the goods to a bowl. Sometimes I eat right from the tray. It’s warm and I get to make some time for myself over it, while I bounce between the renovation duties, freelance work, emails, actual scheduled work, and tiniest fibre-like shreds of free time. I’ve never been “too busy to cook.” Maybe that’s obvious? When the world is spinning, I tend to go inward a bit and cooking helps. When I lived alone, I happily enjoyed a lot of solitary meals, but always looked forward to my post-school life where dining companions would surely be infinite and constant. My current schedule varies from the rest of my world’s seemingly unanimous 9-5, so yep. Still plenty of solo late lunches scarfed at 3 pm right before my shift starts on any given Saturday.
I’ve even been waking up earlier to cook alone too. I’m on this steel-cut oat porridge thing that demands a little extra time, which is kind of immediately annoying, but ultimately for the best. I sip a warm drink and stir, focused on that one thing. I don’t have the headspace for a large batch that can be pre-portioned and reheated throughout the week, and that’s honestly fine. The sleepy straining of tired eyes eventually fades, and I find there’s more strength for all of the things that need doing.
So this is a bit of a deluxe, but still completely simple, flying solo kinda meal (although I did design the recipe for two servings since it’s probably a bit more practical for most). Fun fact: the first restaurant family meal I ever enjoyed as an actual cook was a fancied-up version of mushrooms on toast. I remember being a bit rattled, sweaty, and slightly anxious when I sat down to the plate after service. It was calming in all of the predictable ways though. Holiday wildness is officially on us now, so it seems even more important to take advantage of those peaceful and simple moments. Seize them by putting the good stuff on toast, people :)
rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast
notes: Any mix of sliced mushrooms is totally excellent. I love shiitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire, so I mix them half and half with creminis. Also, before I add the vegetable stock, I simmer it with the mushroom stems for a little bit–like 15 minutes or so. It’s just to intensify the mushroom flavour.
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 shallot, fine dice
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped fine
10 ounces/heaped half pound mixed mushrooms, stems removed + caps sliced
splash of sherry vinegar
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce (Annie’s brand is my fave)
scant cup of cooked chickpeas
1 cup vegetable stock
big splash of unsweetened non-dairy milk, something rich like cashew or coconut is preferable
1 tsp arrowroot powder (or non-GMO + organic cornstarch if you’re cool with it)
salt + pepper
2 thick slices of good bread
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sautè or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir. Once those are a bit fragrant, add the rosemary. Sauté until the shallots are really translucent. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir them around. Add the sherry vinegar, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and chickpeas and stir. Once the mushrooms have started softening just a bit, about 3 minutes, add the stock. Stir everything up and simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third and the mushrooms are quite soft. Add the splash of non-dairy milk and stir. Season the whole thing to taste. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot with a little bit of the liquid from the pot. Make a little slurry and then add it back in to the pot. Simmer until lightly thickened. Keep warm.
Toast or grill the pieces of toast. Lay them in shallow bowls. Ladle the mushroom and chickpea ragoût on top. Finish with a bit more black pepper. Serve hot.