Wow! That’ a long title!
I’ve been determined to cook this meal for a long time and have somehow not managed it on at least 3 occasions. Yesterday I finally managed it, and I’m so glad I did.
It’s from “The Artful Vegan”, which is the second book from Millennium chef, Eric Tucker. I’ve been to the restaurant 3 times and been blown away by the clever combinations and fancy vegan concoctions. I own both books but have definitely made more from the first one. I’d previously only cooked one meal from this book. When I first got the books I thought the food was beyond me, but I think it’s a measure of how much my cooking has improved that I can pick them up now and find quite a few things I want to cook.
That said, it’s not a meal to cook when you get in from work! It involved quite a lot of steps but individually none of them were particularly hard – they just needed planning. The first thing I did was make the sausages. I used the Millennium recipe but steamed them, as I’m quite comfortable steaming seitan sausages now and it seemed easier. Then I made the mushroom stock for the sauce, followed by the sauce itself. I’d never made sauce like that, using a dark roux and homemade stock, but it resulted in a rich thick deep glossy sauce.
Next I made the filling for the purses, which used vegetables, sausage, sherry, herbs, stock, white beans and truffle oil. I let that cool and assembled and baked the purses last. The garlic polenta was pretty easy and I’m sure I’ll find other uses for the thick tasty cashew cream that went into it. Then the recipe called for broccoli rabe, but I substituted kale, and finally there was grilled balsamic pear.
I made 2 mistakes throughout – neither of them affected the taste but they did alter the look of the dish. I didn’t realise until quite late in the proceedings that my phyllo pastry was a different shape to the recipe, so my purses were a lot chunkier and less elegant than in the book. The other mistake was using plates that were too small so the meal looked crowded and messy, when I’d hoped for a really good photo and presentation just for once! There’s a much better picture in the book and another one on the website which I hoped to recreate, but no matter. The taste was sublime and went perfectly with the bottle of zinfandel we brought back from California a few years ago.
It was a lot of work considering the meal was demolished very quickly – but it was time well spent. And of course, the individual elements of the dish can be altered or used in conjunction with other things – for example, I’d definitely make the polenta again – it was probably the tastiest polenta I’ve ever had but on its own it was super easy.
I’m not intimidated by these books anymore and although they aren’t quick they are well worth considering when you want something a bit special.