Monday, January 25, 2016

Vegan Croque-Forestièr

Today's recipe is a vegan Croque Forestièr, which is more or less a French version of a grilled cheese sandwich.  This grilled cheese is quite decadent and certainly not one of those typical goodie goodie January recipes that's all fresh veggies and low fat.  

How can I explain this months recipe choice?  A few years ago when Spencer and I lived in Washington we likes having lunch at a small bakery in town.  And they made a wonderful Croque Forestièr.  I never had something quite like it and for the longest time I was wondering if I could create a vegan version.  Turns out it was not as difficult as I imagined it would be.

First, I asked Spencer to bake the potato bread.  If you can bake your own potato bread or find some in the store that would be ideal, however a good loaf of sourdough will suffice just as well.  Now let's start with the recipe and the ingredients you would need for it.

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients:  
  • 2 Tbsp. Grape Seed Oil
  • 2Tbsp. All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice

Sandwich Ingredients:  
  • Potato Bread;  thick slices
  • 16 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms;  sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt

Cheese Mixture Ingredients:  
  • 1 cup Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella Shreds
  • 1/4 tsp. Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

  1. Heat the oven to 425 F. 
  2. To prepare the béchamel sauce, combine the butter, flour and nutmeg in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook the mixture for about 2-3 minutes while stirring it constantly until it turns slightly brown.  Gradually whisk in the coconut milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to pull away from the edges on the pan, 3-4 min.  The sauce should now have the consistency of thick pudding and stick to the spoon.  At this point, turn the heat off and season the sauce with a pinch of salt.
  3. Next, prepare the mushroom mixture.  Pour 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add mushrooms with rosemary, sage and parsley.  Cook for about 7 minutes until the mushrooms are browned and stir the mixture occasionally.  Once this happen add 1 teaspoon of salt which should cause the mushrooms to release their liquid.  Then turn off the heat and set the mixture aside.
  4. Now is also a good time to prepare the cheese mixture by combining the shredded vegan cheese, the chili powder and the nutritional yeast flakes in a small bowl.
  5. To assemble the sandwich, take the sliced bread and spread a thin layer of mustard on top.  Next, add a thicker layer of béchamel sauce on each slice of bread, making sure to spread the béchamel from corner to corner on each slice.  Now is also a good time to place the bread on the prepared baking sheet.  Top each slice with mushrooms and the cheese mixture.  Next, bake the sandwiches until cheese is melted and tops are starting to crisp, about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley over top and serve immediately.

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