Burnt Mushroom and Artichoke Succotash

10 ounces button mushrooms. minced
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tbls capers and brine
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbls hot sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 serrano, minced
1 habanero, minced
1 poblano, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can red beans, rinsed
2 tsps basil
1 tbl salt
2 tsps black pepper2 tsps garlic powder

This dish uses the char of the mushrooms to add umami. When you char mushrooms, it's almost as if they are transformed into an entirely different product. Those bland, little sponges are miraculously turned into a rich, meaty, flavor bomb. They become like vegan bacon lardons. They elevate all the other ingredients with which you combine them and make everything come alive. 

The key is to take the mushrooms all the way to the edge of being burnt. 

Cook the mushrooms heavily salted in a dry fry pan over medium high heat. They will release their liquid. Let that evaporate. Deglaze with the wine. Let that…

Spicy Veggie Balls with Red Wine Sauce

Rosemary and pinto beans make a really tasty combination in these little guys. They feature a nice crust on the exterior and a moist tender center with just a little bit of chew.

They're quite easy to make. The only trick is to be patient while cooking them. Take the time to let that brown crust form on the outside. It's worth it.

Both the balls and the sauce are vegan.

1 can pinto beans, undrained
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup scallions
1-2 tbls jalapeno/habernero pepper
1-2 cups uncooked rolled oats *
3 tbls nutritional yeast
1 tbl olive oil
2 tps white vinegar
1 tbl rosemary
2 tsp cumin seed
2 tsp crushed pepper flakes
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsps onion powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tbl salt
2 tsps black pepper

Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until a thick, chunky paste is formed. Add the oats in 1/2 cup increments until the desired consistency is achieved. The result should be fairly thick, but a little loose. A viscosity kinda right in the middle between firm cream cheese and smooth hummus. Or similar to room temperature butter. It will firm up some more upon cooking.

Store mixutre in a covered container and chill the in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Shape into 1 inch balls and cook in a non-stick frying pan with a little bit of canola oil. You can leave as balls or flatten the balls once in the pan for slider patties. Cook until golden brown on the top and bottom. You can cook the balls around the edges too for extra texture, but this step is optional.

Rest for several minutes after cooking to allow the balls/patties to set.

* The oats should be the unflavored variety that take 5 minutes to cook simmering on a stovetop according to the package directions. Also known as old fashioned oats.

Moving on to our sauce....

2 tbls vegetable shortening
2 tsps flour

1 cup cabernet sauvignon
2 tsps low sodium soy sauce
2 tsps sriracha
1 tbl olive oil
1 tsp habernero hot sauce
3 white mushrooms, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 shallot minced
few slices jalapeno/serrano
2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper

Whisk together the liquid sauce ingredients, salt and black pepper. Add vegetables. Cover and allow to rest at room temp for a 1/2 hour.

Make the roux by melting the shortening and then whisking in the flour. Keep whisking and cooking over medium high heat until roux turns golden brown.

Whisk in the sauce mixture. Cook for a few minutes to take the edge off the wine. It should start to thicken up pretty quickly. Remove from heat. Do not thicken it too much while cooking as it will continue to thicken as it cools.