Lion’s mane mushrooms have a dense, meaty texture similar to stewed beef and easily take on the flavors of this recipe; the result is familiar in its decadence but avoids the heaviness that often follows consuming red meat. Smoked bacon and beef broth provide ample meaty flavors while enriching the silky herbed sauce of aromatic vegetables and red wine. This dish is neither vegan or vegetarian but rather Fungitarian.
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2 lbs lion’s mane mushroom, cut into 1″ pieces
4 T. avocado oil or other high-heat oil for browning the lion’s mane
4 T. unsalted butter
2 T. all-purpose flour
12 oz. thick-cut smoked bacon or lardons, diced
6 medium carrots, sliced
1 large red or sweet onion, diced OR 1lb. pearl onions, blanched and skins removed
5 large cloves roasted garlic, thinly sliced
2 bay leafs
Small bunch of fresh parsley
8 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 C. medium-bodied red wine, (Burgundy or Bordeaux works well)
2 C. beef broth, Better Than Bouillon works well
1 T. tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Clean the lion’s mane with a mushroom brush before chopping it into pieces; we’re going for a stew meat texture, so irregular chunks and torn edges work well here. Heat two 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium heat and brown the mushroom in batches until they are lightly browned on all sides. Set aside on a plate. In the same pan, fry the bacon or lardons until crisp. Remove the bacon to a bowl and sauté the onions and carrots until translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another two minutes before returning the mushrooms and bacon to the pan. Sprinkle with 2T flour and cook for 5 minutes to remove the raw flour taste; while that is cooking, tie the fresh herbs and bay leaves into a bouquet garni and add it to the pan along with the wine and broth, simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and discard the spent herbs; the lion’s mane can absorb a lot of liquid, so add water as necessary to reconstitute the sauce before seasoning to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes or sliced warm baguette.