Meaty mushrooms and crispy smoked bacon, is there anything better?
This dish initially was intended as a vegetarian, ‘you don’t need meat for Christmas’ dish (mushroom ragout really doesn’t need it. It is creamy, garlicy and meaty in texture), but after acquiring a thick slab of pancetta from my local market a few weeks ago nothing has escaped untouched. (Sorry veggies) So my meatless Christmas dinner rather went out the window. It was certainly not to any detriment of my tastebuds. Any veggies, you can just omit the bacon.
I am a big fan of tahini mash. Mostly because it requires little to no cooking. Essentially it is a houmous variation, made with blended white beans, tahini and garlic. It can be used hot or cold and serves as a wonderful carrier to absorb the delicious ragout juices. I often make double the amount and pimp up any remainders with smoked paprika, extra lemon juice, cayenne pepper and extra virgin olive oil to have as a dip or cold side too. Also because it is bean based, it is also much lower in carbs and higher in slow release protein then potato mash. A better option to keep sugar levels balanced.
Both are delicious made and eaten together or separately. There certainly is a place at the breakfast table for this mushroom ragout, topped with a soft poached egg, but I rather like the combination. This to me is the definition of healthy comfort food. All you need is a mug of mulled wine, or steaming cocoa (if you are being boring) to complete to comfort food fantasy.
Mushroom and Pancetta Ragout
- 300g mixed mushrooms ( I used chestnut, portobello and shittake)
- 100g smoked pancetta lardons
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus a large handful extra for garnish
- 1 tbs chopped sage leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed to a pulp
- 100ml white wine or stock
- 1-2 tbs creme fraiche
- 10g pine nuts, plus 20g for garnish
- a handful of cavolo nero, destemed and chopped
- 1 heaped tbs light tahini paste
- 400g cooked butterbeans
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbs ev olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 75ml ice cold water
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Parsley Oil
- 5 g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cloves garlic, crushed
- 10g pinenuts
- a pinch of salt
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- ev olive oil
For the Tahini Mash
Wash throughly and Place the beans in a food processor with the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 teaspoons of salt and the iced water and allow it to mix until you get a very smooth and creamy paste, about five minutes. If not using straight away, refrigerate until needed. Otherwise gently heat in a saucepan until hot and serve with the ragout.
For the Mushrooms
Add the pancetta to a large frying pan and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate; leave the fat in the pan.
Add the mushrooms to the frying pan and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sage, half the parsley and the cooked lardons and fry for a further 2 minutes. Then add the white wine/stock and reduce by half. Once the alcohol has cooked off, take the pan off the heat and mix through the creme fraiche. Season to taste and set aside.
For the Parsley Sauce
Grind the garlic and salt in a pestle and mortar. Add parsley and pine nuts and keep mixing. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Keep adding until you achieve a chunky paste, add more olive oil to thin it. Season to taste.
Serve the ragout and heated tahini mash together, (if you have made extra, set it aside for later) top with a drizzle with the parsley oil. Serve and enjoy hot.