Vegan Food Nerd


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Harvest vegetable stew

20141016_173321I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting very frequently this month. Life has been busy! We’re still cooking lots but I haven’t been taking the time to write down recipes and take pictures. However, this is the perfect season for a nice hearty stew so I wanted to put something together that is easy, yummy and filling that tastes like autumn in a bowl!

We have been getting bounty bags from the Mustard Seed Co-op that include a variety of local fruits and veggies and we had quite a bit left to use up after Thanksgiving, so I came up with this dish. I also used some leftover seitan roast we had made for Thanksgiving, and it went really well here. You can use your favourite veggie sausage chopped up instead, or make your own, or just leave it out! I apologize for not posting this last week when I made it in case you had some leftovers too.

Notes:

  • The tomato paste and balsamic vinegar in this dish really add to the flavour of the stew and will help round out the flavours. The added acidity they add is something I wouldn’t skip!
  • I used a mixture of mushroom and vegetable broths, but would recommend any stronger flavoured broths for this.
  • I wanted to add some chopped fresh pumpkin as well, but forgot that it was sitting on the counter!
  • My stew thickened up really nicely just by adding the lentils into the pot and letting them simmer in the pot for another 5 minutes or so. If you don’t find your stew is thick enough add a little cornstarch dissolved in water.

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 medium) cut into strips or small pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece ginger root, minced
1 small acorn squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3-5 small potatoes, cubed
1 large parsnip, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
2 celery stalks, 1/4″ pieces
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (sage, parsley, rosemary and thyme)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried savory
1 tbsp tomato paste
6 cups veg broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils
1 cup leftover seitan, cubed (optional)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1) Saute leeks in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and stir and saute another minute, until fragrant.

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2) Add veggies (squash, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, carrot, celery) and saute 5 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

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3) Add veggie broth, herbs, smoked paprika, coriander, savory and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmerand cook uncovered about 15 minutes, or until veggies are fork tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. If veggies are not tender after 15 minutes, cover and allow to simmer another 5-10 minutes.

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4) Once veggies are tender, add lentils, seitan, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

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5) Heat through, simmering, about 5 minutes more. The addition of the lentils should thicken your stew up nicely. Check for salt and seasonings.

6) Let sit at least 10 minutes before serving to allow flavours to meld together. Serve with crusty bread!

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Sausage and dumpling dill stew

20140923_175206This is one of my favourite stew recipes from Isa over at theppk.com. Her Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings is just so delicious and perfect for the first day of fall (or any day in the fall/winter). I made a few small changes by adding some Field Roast apple and sage veggie sausages as well as some cauliflower, but otherwise was pretty true to the original recipe. You must make either Isa’s original version, or the version below if you want to eat delicious, comforting food. And I know you do!

Notes:

  • Slice and saute your veggie sausages first for some additional flavour.
  • The original recipe calls for sweet paprika, but I used hot and smoked paprikas instead for a nice change.
  • Instead of using all AP flour as was called for in the original recipe, I used a mixture of flours that produced a much lighter and fluffier dumpling. Use all AP flour if you prefer a denser dumpling!
  • I cooked my roux for an extra minute, and cooked the onions until the flour was quite dark – my goal was to add more flavour to the stew which worked here. I have made this recipe quite a few times, and cooking your roux for the normal amount of time is also delicious.

Ingredients

Stew:

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 medium sized sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth, at room temperature
2 stalks celery, tops removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 pounds potato, in 3/4 inch chunks (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
2 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1 large carrot, 1/4″ slice on the bias
1 tbsp fresh thyme, or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp hot paprika
Fresh.y ground black pepper
1 15 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage sausages, cut into 1/2″ slices

Dumplings:

1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cake/pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy)
2 tablespoons olive oil

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Directions

1) Preheat a large, heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and sprinkle in the flour to make a roux. Use a wooden spoon or wooden spatula to toss the flour in the oil, stirring consistently, for 3-4 minutes. The flour should be clumpy and toasty.

2) Add the onion and salt and toss to coat the onions completely in the flour mixture. As the onions release moisture, they will coat more and more. Cook this way for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for 30 more seconds or so.

20140923_1700523) Stream in the vegetable broth, whisking constantly to prevent clumping. Add the celery, potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, dill, thyme, paprika and black pepper, then turn the heat up and cover to bring to a boil. Keep a close eye and stir often, so that it doesn’t clump or boil over.

20140923_1705084) Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the stew is nicely thickened and the potatoes and carrots are tender.

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5) In the meantime, prepare the dumplings. Sift the flour, baking powder, pepper and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the rosemary. Make a well in the center and add the milk and olive oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix together until a wet dough forms.

6) Heat a cast iron skillet with a little bit of olive oil and brown your sausage pieces.

6) When the stew is ready, mix in the beans and veggie sausage and plop dough right on top of the stew in spoonfuls. You should get about 13-14 dumplings.

20140923_1730417) Cover the pot tightly and cook for about 14 more minutes. The dumplings should be nice and firm. Use your ladle to dunk them into the stew to coat.

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8) Ladle stew into bowls, topped with dumplings. And serve!

Makes 6-8 servings.

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Lentil curry (a veggie packed dahl)

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So first thing’s first. Sometimes recipes don’t work out the way you intend them too. Sometimes, you plan and you put in lots of meticulous effort, and still…something goes wrong. Many times that means ruining a recipe, but in some cases you end up with a happy accident! That may be what happened here. What was supposed to be a red lentil curry soup, ended up as a puréed curry with a side of spiced rice (see notes), and it was absolutely delicious. Not at all what I had intended to make, but still lovely to eat!

This all started when I realized I was out of the red lentils I needed for the soup and subbed them with yellow split peas. I don’t remember yellow split peas taking eons to cook (and the package said they only needed 25-30 minutes to boot) yet mine just didn’t want to cook down. So this meant the soup had to stay on the stove so long that the veggies got way too mushy to be eaten as soup. I thought the hand blender would salvage the giant pot of gorgeous veggies and aromatic spices, and it worked out fine! This all got blended up and tasted like a really delicious Indian dahl dish. So, if that’s what you would also like, follow the instructions below.

Notes:

  • If you would rather have a soup, use red lentils as they will break down much more quickly and you’ll end up with the perfect veggies. Or, even with red lentils, go ahead and puree the batch for a curry. Yellow split peas don’t normally take an hour to cook like they did for me, so either ingredient should work fine for you!
  • I served this with brown basmati rice flavoured with cardamom and cloves. Cook your rice as per the package instructions, but throw in a handful of cloves and green cardamom pods when you add your rice to the water. For 1 cup of rice I used about 13-14 cloves and 7-8 cardamom pods. I also used a tsp or two of coconut oil to prevent sticking. The rice had a great flavour that contrasted well with the curry. (Just remember to remove the cloves and pods before serving)
  • We also ate the curry and the rice with some onion bhajis. Yum!
  • This makes a large vat, so halve the recipe if you don’t want a bunch of leftovers.

Ingredients

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp saffron turmeric
1/2 large head cauliflower (8 cups)
2 small red potatoes
2 small sweet potatoes
1 cup yellow split peas or red lentils
8 cups vegetable broth (or 6 cups of broth, 2 cups of water)
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups packed greens such as kale and swiss chard
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for serving

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Directions

1) In a large pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent, 4-5 minutes.

2) Add fresh ginger and garlic and heat for another 30 seconds – 1 minute, stirring, until fragrant. Add spice mixture (I like to get mine all measured out in a ramekin so it’s ready to go) and add to the pot. Cook for another minute or two, stirring, to toast the spices.

20140918_17060520140918_1711083) Add 6 cups of the vegetable broth, and the red lentils or yellow split peas to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Simmer for 10 minutes if using split peas.

20140918_1718404) Add cauliflower and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until veggies are tender. If you need more liquid, add more broth or more water to the pot. If using red lentils they should have broken down after 25 minutes and you can go ahead and enjoy this as a soup. If not, keep cooking until everything is cooked. You can puree or not depending on your preference.

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5) Taste for salt and seasonings, adding more as desired. Add greens and cook until wilted. Stir in freshly ground black pepper.

6) Either ladle into bowls and enjoy as a soup (even the pureed version), or serve with rice. Garnish as desired.

Makes around 8 servings

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