Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vegan Rustic Winter Stew and Polenta

Sometimes cooking takes such a long time. It's definitely one of the downsides. All the chopping and the measuring. But the end result is always worth all the prep. That was definitely the case for my dinner tonight.

I decided to make a winter dish that Ruth had made a few weeks back. I found the recipe on Post Punk Kitchen. There was lots of prep involved because I decided to do things a bit differently from the recipe. 

The recipe was Rustic Winter Stew Over Polenta. There's just nothing better than that for a winter night. I loved how hearty this meal was and it definitely left me feeling all warm, happy and healthy. 

I stirred my stew a bit too much, so it all kind of ended up mushing together. Maybe don't do what I did if you plan on serving it to people and you want it to look as good as the photo on the Post Punk Kitchen website :)


Vegan Rustic Winter Stew and Polenta
(Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen)

Serves 8

For the stew:
  • Olive oil (from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons, depending how much you feel like using)
  • 1 small onion, diced medium
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced ( I love garlic so I used heaps)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • Several dashes fresh black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14oz (400g) can cooked lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups baby carrots (I sliced up 3 medium sized carrots)
  • 1lb chopped tomatoes
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 lb orange sweet potato, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 leeks, white & light green parts only, in 1 inch chunks (and washed well)
  • Fresh rosemary or thyme, to serve (realistically, only if you’re taking food photos)
For the polenta:
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup dry polenta 
To make the stew:
Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in olive oil, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, celery seed, pepper and salt and saute a minute more.
Add the baby carrots, tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable broth. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally for about 20 minutes (now is a good time to start the polenta.)
Add sweet potatoes, leeks, lentils and bay leaves. Lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 more minutes, until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the flavors to meld. Serve over polenta, garnished with fresh herbs, if you like.

To make the polenta:
Bring vegetable broth and salt to a boil in a 2 quart pot. Add oil. Lower heat to simmer. Add the polenta in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly with a whisk. Whisk for about 5 minutes, until polenta is thickened. Keeping heat low, cover and let cook for 20 more minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

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