Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Louisiana Style Vegetarian Gumbo with Lion's Mane, Okra and Zucchini

by Mary Ellen Kozak

After years of cooking Lion's Mane, I have a short list of ways to capitalize on this mushroom's list of of culinary attributes. Lion's Mane is surely one of the more unusual of the cultivated mushrooms. It has a fairly distinct and strong flavor, chewy yet soft texture, and it seems unlikely that something with a hairy texture could be so invincible in the cooking pot. Lion's Mane prepared in this medium-slow cook method is mild flavored and pliable with a slight chew, feeling solid, like a bite of shrimp. Its soft texture is downright succulent in contrast to the soft and slippery okra. This is my first go at a gumbo, which I'm learning has many styles and versions. This one is vegetarian-lite, can be loaded with healthy Lion's Mane which makes for a fabulous lunch or a light weeknight supper and you'll feel remarkable healthy after eating it.

Louisiana Style Vegetarian Gumbo


1 T oil
1  onion, diced
1 c sliced bell peppers
3 large stalks of celery, sliced
2 cloves minced garlic
6 c vegetable (or chicken) broth
14 oz can whole or diced tomatoes (or pint jar of your own)
1 1/2 c  okra, (if using frozen okra, thaw slightly for easy slicing)
2 small zucchini, sliced
1/2 lb (about 3 c)  Lion's Mane, torn into bite size pieces
1 tsp file' powder (ground sassafras leaves, or sub 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp marjoram ... but try to find the file powder!)
1/2 tsp salt
Dash of hot sauce
A few grinds of black pepperOptional: 2 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c cold water (for a thicker gumbo)
Hot cooked rice


In a soup pot, saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms over a low-moderate heat. Add the bell pepper and celery and cook a few more minutes. Add the seasonings, tomato and zucchini and partially cover. Simmer for about 25 minutes. If you prefer a thicker stew, add the arrowroot or cornstarch and return the stew to a moderate heat for a few minutes. Adjust salt and pepper. Serve over a fluffy cooked rice.

Gumbo recipe adapted from www.thespruce.com

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