Cvapi, a southeastern European dish typically made up of minced meat and onions, gets a vegetarian spin from Tim Wiechmann of Bronwyn, who replaces the meat with a batter made from raw chickpeas and chestnut flour.
Wiechmann forms the batter into finger-like sausages, then fries them until golden brown. He serves them over a bed of creamy mushrooms with stewed plums on the side.
To learn more, read "Finger Food."
Cvapi with Mushrooms and Stewed Plums
Recipe adapted from Tim Wiechmann, Bronwyn, Somerville, MA
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus soaking time
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus soaking time
For the Cvapi Batter:
1 cup raw chickpeas, soaked and drained
2/3 cup chestnut flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 cup chestnuts, cooked and roughly chopped
½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
Canola oil, for frying
For the Stewed Plums:
4 plums, halved, pitted and quartered
1 cup white wine
½ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean
For the Mushroom Cream Sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1 white onion, very thinly sliced
1 pound wild mushrooms, such as black trumpets or chanterelles, halved or quartered if large
1 cup heavy cream
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt, to taste
1. Make the cvapi batter: Place the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse until they resemble coarse cornmeal. Add the chestnut flour, egg, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine. Transfer the chickpea mixture to a medium bowl and add the onions and garlic. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the crème fraîche, chopped chestnuts and parsley. The mixture should look like a paste. Place 2 tablespoons of the chickpea mixture in between hands and roll into 2 ½-inch length sausages that are approximately ¾-inch in diameter. Cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Meanwhile, make the stewed plums: Combine the plums, wine, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by half and the plums have softened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the spices and set the plums aside.
3. Make the mushroom cream sauce: Add the butter to a medium skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the onions and sweat until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the nutmeg and season with salt.
4. While the mushrooms are cooking, pour enough oil in a medium saucepan until it reaches a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Fry the cvapi fingers, working in batches of 6, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cvapi to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt and serve on top of the mushroom cream sauce with stewed plums on the side.