Monthly Archives: June 2013

Chickpea Pastel de Choclo

Chickpea Pastel de Choclo

When I first flipped through Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero, I had significant difficulty choosing which recipe to try first. From the sheer volume of posts regarding this cookbook, it’s quite clear that I’m slowly making progress, and loving every delicious morsel. One recipe that was initially tagged as a “hm. that’s interesting” recipe was Chickpea Pastel de Choclo. Pastel de Choclo is a Chilean shepherd’s pie, but with a pureed fresh corn topping instead of the mashed potatoes. This particular version uses crumbled tempeh or chickpeas instead of meat, and retains all other flavours of the original.

What made me hesitant about this dish at first was that it includes raisins, green olives, and corn. Three ingredients that I go out of my way to avoid. Put them together? Apocalypse now, baby! Buoyed by all the other successes of Viva Vegan!, I put my faith in Terry one Saturday and tried it out. This very well be my favourite dish of the cookbook thus far! The raisins and olives marry together in a subtly sweet/salty combo that is nothing like I’ve ever tasted before. The other seasonings of oregano, cumin, and paprika round out the stew filling, making the filling utterly irresistible – a definite repeat by itself! I don’t know what sort of magic happens when these ingredients combine in the pot, but it has encouraged me to not be so hasty on judging the demure raisin.

The other real surprise of the dish is the corn topping. I used frozen corn making the topping method that much easier. Thawed kernels are pureed with garlic, salt, pepper, cornstarch, and a heavy cream. I used Almond Breeze, and it worked wonderfully. After the food processor works its magic, you’re left with something that looks like gruel. A quick simmer to thicken the topping (similar to Burmese Tofu), the addition of fresh basil, and it’s ready to pour over the filling. The fresh basil adds such punch to the pie as a whole; it complements the raisin/olive filling wonderfully. The pureed corn topping gets a nice browned crunch layer once baked – something I could never achieve with mashed potatoes. Overall, this dish was a pleasant surprise, and a nice departure from the spicy Latin dishes one comes to expect. It opened my eyes to new flavour combinations, and once again opened my kitchen to the glorious cuisine of Chile. I was greatly rewarded with my choice to expand my culinary horizons – I will remember this deliciousness the next time I see an ingredient list that makes me go “ick”!

The recipe can be found in Viva Vegan! on pg. 144-145, or on Google Book Preview here.

 


Tuscan Sundried Tomato Soup

Tuscan Sundried Tomato Soup

The best day of kindergarten was when we made Stone Soup. Every kid was responsible for bringing an ingredient from home – humble ingredients like carrots, cabbage, and potatoes. We then went out into the playground and searched for the ‘perfect’ stone for the soup. Finally, we made the soup in class, and slurped up every delicious morsel. I’m sure the teacher added seasonings and herbs to make it delicious, but nothing compared to the pride that my kindergarten self had knowing that in that soup was my carrot, and (in my mind) it was that carrot that made the soup so delicious. The perfect stone helped too 🙂

This soup can be considered ‘adult’ stone soup. Made of simple ingredients, it’s bursting with bright flavour that will amaze. Carrots, celery, and greens are joined with the star: sundried tomatoes. Tomatoes are such a humble ingredient, but when treated right they can really steal the show. Sundried tomatoes are packed with flavour, and with the addition of dried herbs and balsamic vinegar this soup is quite spectacular. Chickpeas round off the soup, making it a complete meal. Enjoy this version of stone soup, and take pride in the contribution of the carrot! (Stone optional).

Tuscan Sundried Tomato Soup

1¼ cup onion, diced
1½ tsp. garlic, minced
1 cup carrot, diced small (~2-3 medium carrots)
½ cup celery, diced small (If using Swiss chard, substitute  chard stems)
½ tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 bay leaves
10 sundried tomatoes (NOT packed in oil), cut into strips (~¼ cup)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
8 cups water
3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 (19oz) cans chickpeas)
4 cups Swiss chard greens (or other greens), cut chiffonade style
paprika, pepper to taste

Directions:

1) In large pot, add onions, garlic, carrot, celery, herbs, and ½ cup water. Cover and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Cook until onions translucent, approx. 6min.
2) Add sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegary. Stir, cover, and cook 1min.
3) Add chickpeas and remaining water. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and let cook 10-15min, or until carrots are tender. Add water as necessary.
4) Add paprika and pepper to taste.
5) Add Swiss chard. Stir, cover, and cook until chard is bright green and wilted, approx. 1min.
6) Serve!


Potato Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo

Potato Kale Soup

This simple weeknight soup is full of Latin flavour and comfort, another winner from Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero. Somehow, the combination of potato and quinoa isn’t heavy at all and transcends all seasons. Blizzard outside? A cosy night in with this soup is what the doctor ordered. Blistering hot, humid, and you begin to sweat just thinking about turning on any sort of heating element? This soup is delicious cold, and with additional greens could easily be transformed into a “bowl”. This soup is flavoured primarily with thyme and oregano, with a dash of vinegar for some acid. The soup itself is composed of onions, quinoa, potato, and kale. Chorizo sausage, also from Viva Vegan! is sliced and stirred in at the end, like a Latin version of Pizza Soup. I am amazed at how flavourful this soup is with such simple ingredients!

The chorizo sausage is quite quick to prepare, and very similar to the Italian Sausage found at The PPK. Instead of Italian seasonings however, annatto powder (this is the spice responsible for chorizo’s distinctive red hue), paprika, chili powder, cayenne, and cumin are all used to round out the spice profile. The sausages themselves take less than 1h to make, so to make this a quick weeknight meal you could make the sausages first, then while they are steaming prep all the veggies for the soup. By the time the soup is done simmering, the sausages will be ready to go. The sausages can also be made well in advance, and frozen – I had some leftover chorizo sausage waiting for me in the freezer, and it worked wonderfully. If that seems like too much work/thinking ahead, no worries! This soup would be delicious without, and for that extra protein punch and texture large beans such as kidney beans, pinto beans, fava beans, or even lima beans could be easily substituted. To round out the soup flavour, add some of the same seasonings as the sausage, all to taste.

Another excellent recipe from Viva Vegan, it made me look at the combination of potatoes, quinoa, and kale in a whole new delicious way!

The Potato Kale Soup with Sizzling Chorizo recipe can be found on pg. 159-160 of Viva Vegan!, or on Google Books here.


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