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Porcini Crusted Vegan “Sweetbreads” with Wild Mushroom Ragout


Porcini Crusted Vegan “Sweetbreads” with Wild Mushroom Ragout
This recipe for porcini crusted vegan “sweetbreads” with wild mushroom ragout is adapted from Almost Famous Chef finalist Kristin Thiebeault’s winning recipe in the 2013 New England regionals. Seitan is coated with ground porcini and spices, sautéed, and then served up with a rich wild mushroom ragout. Thiebault’s dish was served with a celeriac (celery root) puree and an apple and celeriac salad to offset the dark earthiness of the seitan and mushroom combination. Take the time to read through the whole recipe before getting started. There are several parts, none of which are difficult. The mushroom stock and even the ragout can be made a day ahead if you’d like.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes


  • Mushroom Stock:
  • 2 ounces dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ¾ pound mixed fresh wild mushrooms (shiitakes, chanterelles, black trumpet, maitake, small portobellos are all good)
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste
  • Mushroom Ragoût:
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance or olive oil
  • Reserved cleaned and trimmed wild mushrooms from above, sliced
  • Reserved soaked mushrooms from above
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Calvados or other high quality brandy
  • Mushroom stock (see recipe above)
  • 1 teaspoon mushroom soy sauce or tamari
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  • Black truffle oil to taste (optional)
  • Seitan:
  • 1 pound seitan (vegetarian mock duck)
  • 4 tablespoons liquid smoke* (see note below)
  • White pepper
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms, finely ground (measure before grinding)
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 4 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 4 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil


Prepare the Mushroom Stock:
Pour the boiling water over the dried mushrooms and let soak for 20 minutes, or until soft. Lift the mushrooms out of the soaking liquid with a slotted spoon and reserve. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filter to remove and sediment or grit and set aside.
Clean and trim the fresh mushrooms, reserving any stems and trimmings for the mushroom stock. Slice the mushroom caps and bodies, and set aside for the ragout.
Heat the Earth Balance over medium flame in a 2-quart saucepan. Add the reserved mushroom stems and trimmings, carrots and shallots and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently.
Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Simmer for 15 minutes, and then strain through a fine sieve. Discard the solids and set the stock aside to use in the mushroom ragout.
Make the Mushroom Ragoût:
Heat the Earth Balance in a large sauté pan and add the sliced fresh wild mushrooms. Sauté until well browned, 5-7 minutes.
Add the reserved soaked mushrooms and stir for 1 minute. Add the flour and stir the mixture constantly until flour is lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.
Add the Calvados and gently shake the pan while tipping it to ignite the alcohol and flame it off. Add 1 cup of the mushroom stock as well as the soy sauce.
Simmer gently over low heat for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm while you prepare the seitan.
Add the black truffle oil just before serving and if necessary adjust consistency by adding reserved mushroom stock.
Prepare the Seitan: Drain the uncooked seitan thoroughly and pat dry. Gently press the seitan pieces to uniform thickness.
In a mixing bowl toss the seitan with liquid smoke and pepper to coat. Set aside.
In a shallow pan stir together the flour, ground porcini, cayenne and 5 spice powder until thoroughly combined. Dredge the seitan pieces in the mushroom flour mixture and shake off any excess.
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat and carefully add the dredged seitan in a single layer. Sauté until crisp and browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain the seitan on a paper towel-lined tray and keep warm.
To serve: Place a heaping tablespoon of ragout on each plate and arrange seitan slices over the ragout.
Serves 4
*Liquid smoke is just that: smoke passed through water and concentrated to give a unique flavor to marinades, barbeque or other sauces. Wright’s Liquid Smoke was Cook’s Illustrated top pick, as it contains only water and smoke concentrate. Stay away from brands that list other ingredients. If you are uncomfortable using the smoke, try dissolving 1/2 teaspoon chipotle paste in ¼ cup of water to substitute for the smoke. If you do this ELIMINATE the cayenne.
Adaptation Copyright 2013 by Jen Hoy

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