Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roasted Potato, Mushroom & Kale Torte

This torte is very similar to the Potato and Spinach Gratin that I made about a month ago but it is more substantial.  I know that on Thanksgiving some people like to serve a dish that is the center piece of their meal and this dish could fill in for that purpose.  For me however, it has always been about the variety of the side dishes.  Nothing makes a Thanksgiving plate more beautiful than an array of fall colors, and different flavors and textures. 

For the torte I made the same cashew cream sauce that I used for the gratin, but changed up the other ingredients and served it with a Mushroom-Marsala Jus.  Whether you serve this as a side dish for Thanksgiving, or for a simple dinner when you have a craving for warm comfort food, I know that you and your family will really like it!

Cashew Cheddar Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in filtered water, drained

1 1/4 cup filtered water

1 bulb of garlic, roasted until soft
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on taste
1 cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Note:  You may have cashew cheddar sauce left over depending on the size of the casserole dish you use.  Place it in a container and freeze for up to three months.  To use, thaw in the fridge and blend before using.


  • Cover cashews with filtered water and soak for up to 8 hours or overnight.  Drain cashews and place in a blender, along with 1 1/4 cups filtered water.  Blend on high until creamy, about 4 minutes.  Strain mixture if you are not using a high-speed blender like a Vita-Mix and then place back in the blender.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice the top off the garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, wrap in foil and bake until soft about 45-60 minutes.  Let garlic cool and squeeze out soft garlic cloves and set aside.
  • Heat a large saute pan on medium heat.  Add olive oil, onions, minced garlic, and fresh thyme and cook until onions are soft, about 5-7 minutes.  
  • Add to the blender and cashew cream, the roasted garlic, onion mixture, cayenne pepper, Daiya Cheese and salt and pepper to taste and blend until smooth and creamy.  It should be thicker than heavy cream, more like the consistency of a loose custard.  However, if too thick add a little more water.
  • Set sauce aside until ready to use.
Torte Ingredients:

3 lbs organic Yukon Gold Potatoes, washed and sliced into 1/4" slices, roasted
1 1/2 lbs assorted mushrooms (I used 8oz each, cremini, oyster and chanterelle), roasted
1 bunch organic green kale, stems removed, cut into bite sized pieces and washed
3 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 bunch minced fresh chives
3/4 Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
1 to 1 1/2 cups Cashew Cheddar Sauce
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Note:  I used a 9x9" casserole dish which makes about 6 servings.

  • Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  • Toss mushrooms together with 1-2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp thyme and salt and pepper.  Spread out mushrooms on two baking sheets and roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  • Toss potatoes together with 1-2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp thyme and salt and pepper.  Spread out on two sheet trays (trying not to over-lap) and roast for 25-30 minutes, flipping potatoes half way through the cooking process and rotating trays.  If the potatoes stick to the sheet plan when trying to flip, place back in the oven for a couple more minutes.  Once the starches become caramelized the potatoes will easily lift from the sheet pan.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  • In a large saute pan, heat olive oil on medium-low and add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the garlic starts to sizzle.  Add chopped kale, and salt and pepper and cook for about 3-4 minutes until kale is wilted, but still bright green.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly butter casserole dish and spread with 1/3 cup of cheese sauce on the bottom.  I made 4 layers so divide your ingredients to make sure you have enough for each layer.
  • Layer the casserole with roasted potatoes, mushrooms, kale, a 1/4 cup Daiya cheese, 1/3 cup cheese sauce, chopped chives, salt and pepper.  Repeat this process three more times, except for the top layer do not use the Daiya cheese, only the cheese sauce.
  • Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 45-60 minutes until bubbly, turning once half way through the cooking process.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.
  • Just before serving, garnish with herb panko topping and additional chopped chives.
Herb Panko:

1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced chives
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • In a small saute pan, heat olive oil, add bread crumbs, herbs, salt and pepper and cook on low until panko is lightly golden brown.  Stir frequently and be careful not to burn.  When finished do not leave in hot pan, transfer to a bowl and then sprinkle on gratin.
Mushroom-Marsala Jus:

8 oz cremini mushrooms sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup Marsala fortified wine
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 tsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1 tsp a/p flour
1 tbsp extra virgin olive
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

  • In a small sauce pan, add olive oil, and mushrooms and cook on medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Add onions and garlic and cook about five minutes longer.
  • Deglaze with Marsala and cook until liquid has been absorbed.
  • Add vegetable stock, thyme, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
  • Strain broth into a bowl, pressing solids with the back of a spoon.
  • In the sauce pan add butter and flour and cook for about 1-2 minutes until bubbly.
  • Whisk in mushroom broth and simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened.
  • Season with salt and pepper if needed.

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