Heartily Serves 2
In this recipe, full-fat coconut milk stands in for dairy, and caramelized mushrooms create a dish full of depth that will satisfy both omnivores and plant-based eaters alike.
The following combination of recipes is just one of the ways I like to enjoy this marvellous mushroom gravy. You can use it on anything from poutine to veggie burgers to mashed potatoes. Truly, anything! But if you’re for a comforting and nourishing plant-based meal, you’re going to love the way all of these elements come together.
Add hazelnuts to a pan on medium heat.
Stir occasionally to avoid burning. You'll start to hear a crackling (that's the skin toasting off) and smell a wonderfully rich aroma. Keep them moving at this point and don't walk away - they can burn quickly!
Once skins are crackling off and spots on the hazelnuts are golden, remove the pan from heat and tip hazelnuts into a clean dish towel.
Rub the nuts in the towel to remove loose skins (don't worry about skins that don't come off). Discard loose skins, chop toasted hazelnuts and set them aside for garnishing.
Add coconut milk, vegetable stock and healthy pinches of salt and pepper to a small pot on high-heat. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, pour in cornmeal slowly into boiling liquid, constantly whisking until it is all stirred in and there are no lumps.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often until polenta starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Top pot with a lid and leave to cook, whisking every so often. Polenta is done when the texture is creamy, and the individual grains are tender (about 25 minutes).
Once done, remove from heat and add vegan butter and lemon zest.
Fluff with a fork to incorporate butter and lemon zest.
Heat large pan on medium-high heat.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil, just enough to coat the pan (use a paper towel to distribute and absorb any excess oil).
Add mushrooms and stir to distribute.
Let cook, untouched for about 2 minutes.
Stir to redistribute and let cook for another minute. Repeat this until all mushroom slices have deepened in colour and have shrunk by almost half in size (this whole process should take 6-7 minutes in total).
Stir in vegan butter and shallots and cook together with mushrooms for around a minute before stirring in adding garlic, thyme and a healthy pinch of both salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk in coconut milk and grainy mustard and let come up to a bubble.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp of cold water until well combined.
Whisk into mushroom mixture and let bubble together for about a minute until mixture has thickened.
Add kale and let wilt into gravy before checking seasoning level. Add any extra salt or pepper if needed before spooning over polenta.