To start with, I can’t tell you how pleased it makes me when the title of my Oscar Noms post works as well as Po’Boyhood. I realize how utterly nerdy that makes me, and I’m ok with it. Secondly, if you haven’t seen Boyhood yet, run, or at least add it to your Netflix queue, and see it immediately.
Boyhood was filmed over 12 years, giving us a time capsule of a boy’s life from 2nd grade to his first year of college. It’s a nostalgic look at all the memorable moments of growing up, something that is especially touching to me now that I have little ones of my own. Somehow it seems fitting to me to make po’ boys in honor of this film, as New Orleans holds a special and nostalgic place in my heart. Also, today is Mardi Gras! I made my first trip to New Orleans 20 years ago with college friends, a trip all about those horrid-tasting frozen Hurricanes on Bourbon Street and other underage shenanigans. And then there was the next trip, soon after, where we rode motorcycles and reenacted our own version of Easy Rider, and got regrettable tattoos. Remember, this was 20 years ago, before tattoos were ubiquitous and cool, when they still seemed kind of rebellious and dangerous. Every few years it seems that I find myself in New Orleans, but with each visit I find myself a lot tamer and a lot farther away from the Bourbon Street debauchery. I’ve grown up, I guess. Now when I visit, I steer clear of any frozen beverages and I’m all about finding some good local vegan fare and maybe a Trombone Shorty show. I’ve had some memorable and some not-so-memorable meals there, but one thing that has proven surprisingly hard to find is a good veggie po’ boy sandwich.
I was thrilled to find this very authentic-sounding Mushroom Debris Po’ Boy recipe online from The Chubby Vegetarian. It’s even featured on the menu at The Second Line, a New Orleans po’ boy restaurant…in Memphis, TN. So it might be still hard to find an authentic vegan po’ boy in New Orleans after all. So go to Memphis! There’s great music there too! Or better yet, just make this recipe at home! And eat it while watching Boyhood on Netflix.
The recipe starts out with slowly browning a mix of onion, celery, and carrots, then adding garlic, red wine, and thinly sliced portobello mushrooms. These all cook down with some vegetable stock, thyme, bay leaves, and other seasonings. The smell in my kitchen was heavenly. Mushrooms cooking with onion, garlic, and red wine… this combination takes me to my happy place. Then you heap the mushrooms onto some French bread rolls, along with sliced tomato, lettuce, pickles, some vegan mayo, mustard, and a dash of hot sauce if you like. Totally classic po’ boy flavors. The mushrooms are meaty and umami, and juicy enough to run down your chin when you bite into the sandwich. Just like being back in N’awlins.