Regency Dish: Ragout

I once had the most delicious chicken ragout in Amsterdam, served in a crepe (British pancake).  While living in the UK, I became an expert at making crepes/pancakes, but have since sadly lost the skill.

However, on a stormy day like today (freak weather, alright!) I started thinking of might whet my Regency appetite…and thought longingly of that long ago ragout.

Influenced by French cuisine, the ragout made its appearance on Regency tables as an alternative to roast beef.  Like the pot roast mom used to make once a month for dad, the ragout is served in a semi-soup state.

Vegetables are baked then later added to the skillet of simmering meat.

Since I gave up beef many years ago, I searched for an alternative and found this yummy tofu version I am going to give a try:

Ingredients : Serves 4

225 g/8 oz tofu, cut into strips
750 ml/1.25 pts/3 cups hot Vegetable Stock
Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting

30 ml/2 tbsp oil
25 g/1 oz/0.25 cup butter or margarine

1 onion, chopped
1 green (bell) pepper, chopped

100 g/4 oz mushrooms, sliced
250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup dry white wine

150 ml/0.25 pt creme fraiche

15 ml/1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

30 ml/2 tbsp water
A pinch of grated nutmeg
5 ml/1 tsp soy sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

50 g/2 oz/0.5 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
30 ml/2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method :

Soak the tofu in 500 ml/17 fl oz/2.25 cups of the hot stock for 15 minutes. Remove, drain well and toss in a little flour. Heat the oil and fry (saute) the tofu until golden. Meanwhile, melt the butter or margarine and fry the onion and green pepper until soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms, wine, remaining stock, creme fraiche and tofu. Simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes but do not allow to boil. Combine the cornflour and water and stir into the ragout to thicken slightly. Add the nutmeg and soy sauce and season to taste. Stir in the Parmesan and serve sprinkled with the parsley.

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