Growing up, food was a big part of our household. We cooked dinner, sat down at the table and ate together every single night. This ritual was as much about us spending time together as it was about the food, which was probably a good thing because this food wasn't your typical Leave It To Beaver type cuisine. Food in our house when I was younger was, I suppose, a bit strange. My parents adopted the "whole earth" lifestyle before it became the fad that it is today. We had a compost pile, a solar powered lawn mower and the food to match. Yup. I'm talkin' granola munching, refined sugar shunning, only eat meat once in a blue moon type household. I didn't know that you could put beef in tacos or lasagna until I was about 10. We always ate bean filled tacos and vegetarian lasagna. I'm pretty sure I didn't taste a piece of white, Wonder type bread until I was in my early teens. And I got mocked more than a few times by the kids in the cafeteria for eating bean sprouts on my sandwiches.
I attribute my good cooking skills today, to growing up cooking Bulgar wheat and raisins for dinner when I was 9. If you can make Bulgar wheat taste good, cooking a good steak is a piece of cake. I don't cook quite that healthy anymore. I still try to buy local produce, meat and free range eggs (I am telling you folks...you CAN taste the difference). But when it comes to the actual cooking process I've adopted a "richer" way of cooking. I use wayyyy too much butter. I love adding cream to, well, almost anything. And we probably eat too much red meat...ok, we definitely eat too much red meat. So the other day when I was staring at the pantry, trying to come up with a side dish for dinner I had a nostalgic craving and an idea to add my butter and cream laden way of cooking to an old favorite...my parent's Bean Stroganoff.
Bean Stroganoff was one of my FAVORITE vegetarian dishes growing up. It's satisfying, creamy AND without using meat it costs mere pennies to make. I probably add more butter...much more butter and cream to my version of this than my parents ever dreamed of...I used it as a side dish to accompany a whole roast chicken and back in the day this was a whole meal...but it's good...very very good...and I promise, you won't miss the meat one bit.
Bean Stroganoff (side dish portion for two hungry folks...or four normal eaters):
1 1/2 cups egg noodles
1/2 of a 15 oz can of pinto beans
1 cup raw sliced mushrooms (I used cremini shrooms)
1/2 onion sliced thin
1 tsp. fresh thyme
1 1/2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. heavy cream
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the mean time saute the onions, mushrooms and thyme in the butter over medium heat until just soft (8-ish mins). Add the egg noodles to the boiling water and cook until done (7-8 mins). While the egg noodles are cooking add the white wine, beans and cream to the mushroom mixture and cook until most of the wine has reduced and the sauce thickens a bit (it should take about as much time as the noodles take to cook). As soon as the noodles are cooked, drain and transfer them directly to the sauce and take the pan off the heat. Toss the whole mixture with the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. You may not need all of the sour cream OR you may need more, depending on how creamy you would like the finished product to be.
And that's it! Serve as a side dish with some roasted chicken or if you're my vegetarian brother...double the recipe and eat it as an entree. Vegetarian or not...it's a delicious dish and something out of the ordinary. I might just make it again tonight!