Mushroom Meat

Makes 4 cups. Recipe is from “The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table” by Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence, who say to make this in large batches, freeze what you don’t use, and defrost it to add to tacos or burritos, to fill tamales, or cobble together a homemade veggie burger.”

3 cups finely chopped portobello mushrooms (about 3 medium, stems included)

3 cups finely chopped eggplant, peeled (about 1 medium)

2 cups finely chopped white onion (about 1 medium)

2 vegetarian bouillon cubes

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbls. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. garlic powder

1?8 tsp. cracked black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Add the roughly chopped mushrooms, stems and all, to your food processor and pulse three times or until finely chopped. The pieces should be about the size of a black-eyed pea. (Do not overwork the mushrooms or they will turn into a paste.) Place the processed mushrooms onto a large, parchment-lined, 17-inch-by-12-inch rimmed baking sheet. Pulse the roughly chopped eggplant in the food processor in the same manner. Place the eggplant onto the sheet pan with the mushrooms. Repeat this process with the onion.

2. Crumble the bouillon cubes into the pile of processed vegetables. Drizzle the mound of mushrooms, eggplant and onion with the olive oil and vinegar. Using your hands, toss it all together. Spread the mixture evenly over the sheet pan.

3. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and pepper. Bake for a total of 20 minutes. Remove the mixture and allow to cool in the pan.

Note: Some eggplants contain more water than others. If there is excess moisture in the bottom of the pan, drain it off using a colander. Reserve the flavorful liquid to add to soups or stews.

Variations: For an Italian variation, add fresh herbs from the garden. To make a Mexican version, add cumin to the mix, along with a palmful of ancho chili powder and chipotle pepper.