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 Post subject: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
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Help please! I am making Shepherd's Pie this weekend for some dinner guests. The challenges is that they've said they absolutely do not eat onions. I think this also applies to anything oniony, shallots, etc.

The recipe I'm planning on trying is below. Is there anything I can replace the onions with? Anything I should watch out for? Do you think this will still be good? Any help is much appreciated!!

Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie

from Vegan Holiday Kitchen (as posted on fatfreevegan.com)

Ingredients
8 large or 10 medium potatoes
2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated margarine*
1/2 cup rice milk
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil*
1 large onion, finely chopped [HELP--Needs replacement!!]
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms
Two 15-ounce cans lentils, lightly drained but not rinsed (or about 3 1/2 cups cooked lentils with a little of their cooking liquid)
2 tablespoons dry red wine, optional
1 to 2 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos*
2 teaspoons seasoning blend (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
8 to 10 ounces baby spinach or arugula leaves
1 cup fresh bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs (gluten-free if needed)


Instructions
1.Peel and dice the potatoes. Place in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and transfer to a small mixing bowl.
2.Stir the margarine into the potatoes until melted, then add the rice milk and mash until fluffy. Cover and set aside until needed. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
3.While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
4.Add the lentils and their liquid and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the optional wine, soy sauce, seasoning blend, thyme, and pepper. Cook gently for 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with just enough water to dissolve in a small container. Stir into the lentil mixture.
5.Add the spinach, a little at a time, cooking just until it’s all wilted down. Remove from the heat; taste to adjust seasonings to your liking.
6.Lightly oil a 2-quart (preferably round) casserole dish, or two deep-dish pie plates. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the bottom. Pour in the lentil mixture, then spread the potatoes evenly over the top. If using two pie plates, divide each mixture evenly between them.
7.Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to turn golden and slightly crusty. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then cut into wedges to serve.


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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:28 pm 
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Hearts James Cromwell

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Location: Near a Great Lake
Just skip the onions.


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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:34 pm 
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I second the Empress. Onions are nice for those of us who like them (or those who are liked by onions) but they are not necesssary in a recipe like this. I believe it will taste fabulous without them.


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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:46 pm 
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Asafoetida fried up with some finely chopped and severely overcooked peppers to retain the mouth feel of onion? Apparently subbing with fennel at a ratio of half the required onions is workable as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
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Thank you so much all! This was making me very nervous. I might just leave them out, but the fennel substitution sounds interesting, and I think that actually sounds good in this recipe anyway. Have you ever tried it?


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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:04 pm 
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WendyPeffercorn wrote:
Have you ever tried it?

Not as a sub for onions, but I've had fried fennel in other dishes before.

The taste is different enough to not have your guests eyeing you with suspicion when you swear there's no onions in it, but in looking at the rest of the ingredients in the dish, I might steer closer to a 30% ration for the onions. Cook it down a lot and test first before chucking it in with the other stuff, because not unlike the seeds, it's gonna have that licorice-y component to it. I'd probably double up on the garlic for counterbalance, but I'm just tasting aloud here.

I forgot to add that you can cook the hell out of some finely sliced and chopped celery for the fake-out mouth feel of onion as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:08 pm 
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I actually just made this recipe this week and I think it would work fine without onions, there are so many other flavors going on. I would probably add some extra garlic, the recipe doesn't call for that much.

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Last edited by Quarantined on Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:09 pm 
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Asafoetida is what my Jain housemate used to eat when it was a religious holiday during which she couldn't eat onions. Seemed to work okay.

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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:06 pm 
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Biker boy is allergic to onions so I leave them out of stuff frequently. Most of the time it doesn't make a huge difference and with everything going on in this recipe, I think you're fine skipping them.

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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Onions make me sick, so I leave them out of things and replace them with other veggies. A little celery just gives it another savory flavor. I can use leeks though, so sometimes I'll do some leeks (not as much as there would be onion) for a little bit of oniony flavor, but you'd have to check with your guests, obviously.

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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:42 pm 
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Yeah, if they're not opposed to garlic than just up the garlic a tiny bit. The recipe looks solid! I definitely wouldn't add fennel or bell peppers, but then, I'm not wild about either in most applications.


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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:04 am 
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That sounds great. Thanks team! It's great having the ppk as a secret weapon. My plan right now is to up the garlic and add some celery. Also pour lots of wine, which is almost always my plan. I'll report back later this weekend.


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 Post subject: Re: Anti-onionists
PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:06 am 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution
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Joined: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:39 pm
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Location: East Bay
Quick update. No onions = no problem. I added some celery and extra garlic. The seasoning was light, so I also added garlic flakes, and red chili flakes, and whatever else I had in my spice rack. The taragon accidentally spilled into the pot, but everyone just said, "What's the wonderful flavor? I can't seem to place it!"

I think it was a win. Thanks all!


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