Rich Mushroom and Black Olive Sauce

I originally designed this rich, thick, mushroom sauce to be wrapped in a British style pancake (or a French galette), much like a weird burrito (and eaten with knife and fork), but we’ve since found that it is also an excellent topping for baked potatoes or chunky pasta.

This dish contains a chickpea miso which I think is marvelous. Miso is a diversely flavored ingredient. Some misos are very strongly flavored, some are salty, and some (like my favorite chickpea miso from South River) are mellow with a wine-y richness that I generally associate with cheese. I should tell you that I buy mine at the local health food store, as the shipping costs from buying it on line can be prohibitive. Obviously, the miso that you choose will have a major effect on the final flavor of the sauce.

4 oz (1 scant cup) raw cashews
1 tbsp margarine
1 lb mushrooms, thickly sliced
1/2 tsp salt (for the mushrooms)
1/2 cup black olives, halved
1 tbsp light chickpea miso
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt (for the sauce)
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of pepper/ cayenne pepper

Put the cashews and 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) of water into a blender, and process until the cashews have all been chopped. Put the mixture aside to allow the cashews to soak (for at least 1/2 hour, if possible).

In a large frying pan, melt the margarine, add the mushrooms, and sprinkle them with the 1/2 tsp of salt to draw out the juices. Fry the mushrooms over medium high heat until just softened (you might need to do this in 2 batches).

Add the black olives to the mushrooms in the frying pan.

Add the remaining ingredients to the cashews in the blender, and blend again to get a smooth, thick, sauce.

Stir the sauce into the mushrooms with another 4 – 8 fl oz (1/2 – 1 cups) of water. Bring the lot to a simmer to thicken the sauce, and serve.

Sufficient for 4 people when served with 12 oz of dried pasta, cooked.


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