Tag Archives: tempeh

Gimme some soul: Cajun-Spiced Tempeh and Creamy Grits

Thank you Bryant Terry for your fantastic cookbook Vegan Soul Kitchen!

I checked this great cookbook out of the library last week and decided to go with a dish from Terry’s “top-ten” chapter entitled “Top Six Good Eats: You Gotta’ Rewind Me” and I am glad I did!

Although, in retrospect, I am sure that any of the delicious-sounding recipes from his book would have been as good (stay tuned, I have one in mind for next weekend!), his recipe for Cajun-Spiced Tempeh and Creamy Grits was out of this world.

It was out my world too, my cooking world, that is.  I have been searching the internet to try to find an African vegetarian cookbook, one that tackles cuisine from the whole continent – not just the northern coast and haven’t had much luck. Vegan Soul Kitchen kept popping up, and although it is not exactly what I had in mind, as it is African-American, it is exceptional and does introducing some different flavours to our table.  In the end, different flavour combinations was what I was after, so Vegan Soul Kitchen did the trick!

In case you decide to try his recipe I will mention a couple of things.  One of the adaptations that I made “de-veganized” the creamy grits, so if you want it vegan just sub in unsweetened soy milk for the skim milk and cashew cream (1 cup of cashews soaked overnight and drained with 1/2 cup of water and blend until smooth) and 1/2 cup of water for the cream.  Also, it is very spicy, so if you want to tone it down cut back on the cayenne and crushed chiles;  I did not think that all the spice mix would adhere to the tempeh pieces, but it did.

It will stick to your taste buds too!  The flavour of Terry’s amazing spice mixture lingered pleasantly in my mouth for the entire evening.

And, of course, there were leftovers for lunch the next day!

Cajun-Spiced Tempeh with Creamy Grits

1 8 ounce package of tempeh (if required, check the ingredients to make sure it is gluten-free)
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup olive oil for frying

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-sized leek, sliced thinly into half moons (about 1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups water
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 cup of stone ground grits (polenta)
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup of half and half cream

2 green onions finely sliced for garnish

Get the tempeh started:

  • Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch fingers and then slice them in half lengthwise and then in half widthwise.
  • In a medium-sized saucepan bring the vegetable stock to boil and then add the tempeh pieces. Reduce to medium low and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Drain the tempeh in a colander and reserve the stock for use in the grits.
  • Let the tempeh dry in the colander for about 30 minutes while you are making the grits
  • In a paper bag mix the spice mixture together (salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, chile flakes, cayenne, thyme, oregano, and white pepper) and set aside
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the tempeh pieces. Fry them for 2-3 minutes on each until browned (my cast iron pan worked great for this!)
  • Transfer the tempeh to the paper bag using a fork or a slotted spoon.
  • close up the bag and shake until all the tempeh is well coated with the spice mix

Then the tomatoes and leeks:

  • While you are simmering the tempeh, chop the tomatoes into quarters, add the lemon juice and salt, give it a stir, cover and put in the fridge.
  • In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the leeks and garlic until browned.
  • Transfer to a medium-sized bowl (the tomatoes and tempeh will get added later)

The grits:

  • To make the grits, bring the water and stock to a boil. Slowly whisk the grits into the liquid and then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.
  • Add the skim milk and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the milk is absorbed.
  • Then add the cream and stir frequently for about 30 minutes.
  • Combine the tomatoes and tempeh with the leeks and mix well.
  • Top the grits with tempeh mixture and garnish with green onions.

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Tempeh and Vegetable Stew in my new french oven, or Peter Berley does it again.

I had wanted to prepare this dish a few weeks ago, but after reading the recipe I noticed that it required a pot that you could transfer from stove top to oven and back again. I wasn’t sure if my pots were up to this, so I refrained. Although I am sure that you could modify the recipe and use two pots, I figured why not use this as an opportunity to get another piece of cookware for the kitchen.

Sometimes we need an excuse, don’t we?

My husband complied, and instead of getting me a boring cast iron dutch oven, he delighted me on my birthday with a beautiful enameled cast iron 3 quart french oven!

Now that I had the appropriate cookware, I decided that I would make this delicious stew out of Peter Berley’s Fresh Food Fast.  I was excited to use my new pot and to cook with tempeh, something I had not done before.

After preparing a few recipes from two of Berley’s cookbooks, I should not be surprised with how amazing this dish turned out.  So far everything I have cooked of his has been fantastic.  To be quite honest, I am putting off purchasing The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and Fresh Food Fast, because I wonder if I will every use any of my other cookbooks again. Realistically though, when these go back to the library in a few weeks I will undoubtedly place an order for them.

The only unfortunate thing about the meal was that I was unable to get the sauce to thicken.  Perhaps I was too hungry to take the time needed.  Of course the sauce was still delicious, but a thick texture would have made the dish even more stew-like.

To round out the meal, I took Berley’s recommendation and served it atop a bulgur and kasha pilaf.  A pleasant nutty departure from brown rice, our usual grain of choice.  Happily, we have enough left over my lunch and dinner for both of us tomorrow.

After tasting the delicious meal that I served tonight EPC did not have any regrets about spoiling me with a new french oven.  I guess this is another example of one good turn deserving another.  However, with a 30 year warranty he will be eating delicious meals out of that pot for many years to come.

Tempeh and Vegetable Stew

4 tablespoons of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 8-ounce packages of tempeh cut into 1-inch squares
4 tablespoons soya sauce
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 medium onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 large yam, cut into 2 inch chunks
2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices
coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder

  • Preheat the oven to 375°C
  • Heat the olive oil in a 3-5 qt dutch oven medium heat
  • Add the garlic, ginger, and rosemary and lay the tempeh on top
  • In a small bowl whisk 1 cup of water with the soya sauce and maple syrup.  Pour this over the tempeh
  • Add a layer of onions, yam, parsnip and carrot over the tempeh- in that order.  Cover and bring to a boil
  • Put  into the oven and bake for 30- 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender
  • Transfer the vegetables and tempeh to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon and reserve the juices.
  • In a small bowl whisk the arrowroot in 1 1/2 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of soya sauce.  Pour into the dutch oven and stir constantly over low heat until the sauce thickens.
  • Pour the thickened sauce over the vegetables and tempeh and serve.

Serves four

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