Monthly Archives: November 2009

Iraqi Beet Stew with Meatballs

Maybe this dish is evil. It  has been summoning me for weeks. I have copies of  Saveur magazine all over my house because it has lately become the only magazine I subscribe to. Since the food isn’t quite as American & Western Europen as other magazines it is really inspiring to veganize their recipes. They still usually put a big ole’ hunk of meat on the cover which means I try and keep my copies face down but I forgive them because Saveur even mentioned our local Boggy Creek farm as the best farm in the country. They have really amazing food photography. One of the photographers, Penny De Los Santos, is based in Austin and I love looking at the blog of her travels and photography, she is amazing.

It was actually the picture of this meal that really got my attention. I love beets and the stew was already vegan so that would make it really easy. I also liked that the meatballs had a lot of strong flavors which I thought would lead to a better seitan. For the first time I made vegan foil sausages in little balls instead of tubes. It worked phenomenally. I think I liked it better than the regular style. This was one of the best seitans I have ever made. Maybe the best! I want to make them again for an Italian style meal. I am so excited by how the stew turned out as well, usually meals that contain beets have such a strong beet flavor & you really can’t taste much else. That is great if you like beets, I love the beets and greens pasta that I make sometimes, but I have never had a beet stew where the flavors all melded together into something else entirely. This was really an amazing meal and didn’t even take that long to make considering I made the seitan. And it was healthy so I definitely want to make it again. You should too so I am going to write out the recipe. Maybe it will start to summon you.

For the beets

First, Split 6 beets into sixths & start to Cook in 6 cups of water. You can remember this at the 666 step! When the beets are soft you are going to add them to the stew but if you do that early make sure you save the beet stock.

For the Rice

Next steam your rice in a small saucepan or rice cooker I used

1 1⁄2 cups brown basmati rice
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. turmeric

For the Seitan

Next Mix the seitan ingredients, I mash everything together so it is kind of like a paste in a mortar & pestle & add the Vital Wheat Gluten last.

1/2 cup chickpeas
1 cup broth
1 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/4 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1/4 Cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup raisins, sliced
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 TBS pine nuts
1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
salt &  pepper

Split the dough into 6ths & wrap it in foilPlace the foil balls in a steamer. I put my bamboo steamer on top of the beet pot. The seitan will need to steam for 40 minutes

For the Stew

Make a spice paste in a mortar & pestle or food processor

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. turmeric
3⁄4 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. ground ginger
1⁄8 tsp. cayenne

In another pot heat up some olive oil and saute

1 medium onion, chopped

Once the onion is browned add the spice paste & 1⁄4 cup tomato paste & cook a couple more minutes until brown

Stir in the reserved beet juice, the juice of one lemon, and 2 TBSP sugar; simmer for 5 minutes

Once the meatballs have steamed for 40 minutes unwrap them and carefully place them in the stew potCook about 8 minutes. Skim surface of stew, add reserved beets, and cook for 2 more minutes. To serve, fluff rice with a fork and spoon it into serving bowls along with ladlefuls of the stew and meatballs; season and garnish with parsley. Invite me over and Enjoy!

Black Bean Soup with Masa Dumplings (Frijoles Negros con Chochoyotes)

I saw this recipe on Saveur and thought it sounded really interesting, especially since I already had the ingredients on hand. I have never seen masa dumpling before, all you have to do is roll up the dough and toss it in the soup for the last ten minutes.  I love black bean soup and I also like to put greens in everything that I cook so I was really excited to make it. Overall, I changed some aspects but I still wish I would have done more, it wasn’t the best soup ever. It took what seemed like a lifetime for my beans to cook so by the time I was making the soup I was so hungry.  I think next time I would add a can of diced tomatoes and some agave nectar because it needed a little sweetness. Also my peppers weren’t very hot and I think a couple poblanos would have added a lot to the taste. I also think the dumpling should have had more salt and perhaps been made with the soaking water from the peppers. It was really healthy and made quite a bit so I hope to try it again. Here is how I made it last night.

Simmer until beans are almost done

2 cups dried black beans
4 cups of water
1 tsp epazote
2 bay leaves

Knead for 5 minutes and then let sit for an hour

1 1⁄3 cups white masa harina
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 cup of water

Soak

2 dried chipotle chiles
1 dried ancho chile

once soft remove seeds and stems and Process with

1 white onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

Saute the chile and onion mix for five minutes & add it to the beans.

Add

1 bunch swiss chard
1 tsp adobo sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp of green salsa

Roll bits of masa dough into balls and toss into soup. Cover them all with soup and cook for 10 more minutes. Salt to taste & enjoy