Kitchen Swap: Chef Ralph Coughenour’s Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff: Chef Ralph Coughenour began his culinary career in 1974 and is currently the director of University of New Hampshire Dining Services. We talked to Chef Coughenour about his astounding feat of serving 15,000 meals a day to the student body, about students’ favorite mushroom dish, Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff and the potentially growing trend of vegan, vegetarian and flexitarianism on campus.
1. What is your favorite mushroom dish?
I love mushrooms in all different ways so it’s hard to say, but there’s a restaurant in Pennsylvania that serves cremini caps stuffed with escargot that I love.
2. Have you noticed a growing trend of vegetarianism on campus?
Vegetarianism and veganism have definitely become more popular over the years. At the same time students who eat meat are eating more vegetarian meals as the idea becomes more main stream. We have a dining facility on campus with a dedicated vegan station and we’re seeing more and more non-vegans going there for their side dishes.
3. What role do mushrooms play in the cuisine at University of New Hampshire?
When I’m looking to add better flavor and a hearty meaty texture to a dish, I add mushrooms. I use a lot of Portabella and cremini mushrooms because they have a great texture and stand up better in a dish. We use tofu, seitan, beans and mushrooms as meat replacers in vegetarian dishes. We go through a lot of Portabellas for sandwiches and also make a popular dish serving a Portabella cap as a steak.
4. What seems to be the most popular mushroom dish on campus?
The students’ favorite mushroom dish is actually the vegan mushroom stroganoff. That’s followed by mushroom fajitas and a mushroom strudel, which is filo dough stuffed with oyster, shiitake and cremini mushrooms topped with a port wine glaze.
5. Can you tell us about your Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff recipe?
This dish is a nice comfort food. We make a roux with olive oil mixed with flour instead of the typical cornstarch with water. This makes for a more refined flavor with a really nice velvety consistency. This dish definitely has crossover appeal for both vegans and students who eat meat. The mushrooms in the Stroganoff replace the texture of the protein and add a robust meatiness to the dish.
Recipe courtesy of Chef Ralph Coughenour, University of New Hampshire Dining Services, Durham, NH
Recipe courtesy University of New Hampshire Dining Services, Durham, NH
Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff: Yield: 24 servings
- 2 ounces olive oil
- 4 ounces diced onion
- 1 ounce minced garlic
- 3 pounds button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 ounces white wine
- 2 ounces tomato paste
- 3 ¾ cups plain soy milk
- 4 ounces all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds whole wheat fettuccine
- ½ ounce chopped fresh parsley
Heat the oil in a large rondo and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the sliced button mushrooms and sauté until the juices are released. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Sauté the cremini mushrooms until the juices are released. Strain the creminis, reserving the liquid.
In a separate pan, heat both mushroom liquids with the wine and tomato paste until almost boiling. Mix 1 cup of the soy milk with the flour to make a slurry. Stir the remaining 2¾ cups soy milk into the mushroom liquid. When it simmers, whisk in the slurry until smooth. Add both kinds of mushrooms into the sauce and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Toss the mushroom sauce with the fettuccine. Serve 6-ounce portions, garnishing with fresh parsley.
Note: This is for about 3½ ounces of sauce to 2½ ounces of noodles. Peas are a colorful addition too.