White Bean and Celeriac Stew with Meyer Lemon

Usually stews are gray and mushy, but this is nice and bright and all of the vegetables retain their shape.  The reason it’s not a pile of mush is that everything is cooked in “layers”, which helps control the result of each component.  Meyer lemon is a hybrid of lemon and mandarin orange, so it is much milder and sweeter than regular lemon.  If you can’t get your hands on Meyer lemon, then use regular lemon, but only use about half the amount so that the lemon flavor doesn’t overpower the entire dish.

I was introduced to celeriac (celery root) recently through culinary school and this is my first time cooking with it.  It’s a less caloric/starchy substitute for potato and is more flavorful, as it offers a hint of celery.

Remember to save the bean cooking liquid! It is very flavorful and the starches released by the beans lend the stew the body that vegetable or chicken broth won’t be able to offer.

4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups great northern beans, soaked for 12 hours

1 tablespoon kosher salt

4 large cloves garlic (peels kept on)

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 yellow onion, medium dice

1 large shallot, cut into thirds lengthwise and then thinly sliced

6 oz cremini mushrooms, medium dice

1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 pound penne pasta (brown rice version is a good gluten free alternative)

1 Meyer lemon, quartered

red pepper flakes, to serve

sheep’s milk feta, freshly crumbled, to serve

What to do:

Drain and rinse the beans.  Put beans in a large pot (I used enamel-coated cast iron) with enough water to cover two inches above level of the beans.  Stir in kosher salt and unpeeled garlic cloves.  Cover and bring water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, turn heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Add the sun-dried tomato pieces and continue to simmer for another 20-30 minutes, until beans are tender and creamy.

While beans are cooking, prep vegetables and set aside.  Next, fill a medium pot with water and a large pinch of salt for the pasta.  Bring water to a boil.

Once the beans are cooked, strain them, while reserving cooking liquid.  Set both aside.

In the same pot that was used to cook the beans, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add shallot and onion.  Sauté lightly for about five minutes, until they are just beginning to brown.  Add mushrooms and celeriac, season with black pepper and add about a cup of the bean cooking liquid.  Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

The water for the pasta should be boiling at this point.  Add the pasta and cook, uncovered, until al dente.  Do not overcook!  Err on the side of undercooked, as liquid will be added to it at the end and some of it will get absorbed by the pasta.

Once the vegetables have simmered for about 10 minutes, stir in the chard, cover, and cook for another 5 minutes.

Drain the pasta lightly and quickly and then toss back into the pot with 1/2 a cup of bean cooking liquid and an optional drizzle of oil.

Check the vegetables for doneness and adjust salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, layer each bowl with pasta, beans, vegetables and additional bean broth, if desired.  Top with a crumble of feta and a the juice of a lemon quarter.  Serve with red pepper flakes on the side.

White Bean and Celeriac Stew with Meyer Lemon - The Clean Gourmet

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Chili Tempeh with Rainbow Chard and Mesquite Mash (Tempe al Peperoncino con Bietole Colorate e Purea al Mesquite)

This recipe has a somewhat long list of ingredients, but is actually very simple to prepare.  You can prepare the spices for the marinade the night before and just mix the spices with the liquid and the tempeh in the morning.  The pumpkin seed sprinkle, however, I recommend preparing shortly before serving, so it’s nice and warm.

Mesquite flour is not really a flour, but a meal from the bean pods of the mesquite tree.  Mesquite is commonly used by Native Americans in the southwest part of North America and is very nutrient dense.  It is 25% fiber, 13% protein and is gluten free.  The taste is mildly smoky and somewhat sweet.  Don’t worry, it does not have the strong flavor associated with mesquite barbeque, whose flavor is derived from smoking the wood from the mesquite tree, rather than from ground bean pods.

I hope you like this vegan southwestern take on autumnal food :).

Chili Tempeh with Rainbow Chard and Mesquite Mash - The Clean Gourmet

Serves 4 

What you need:

For the Chili Tempeh:

1 8-oz package tempeh (I used 3-grain)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 T lime juice (from about 2 limes)

1 T apple cider vinegar

2 T grapeseed oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp sweet paprika

2 tsp smoked paprika (or chipotle chili powder)

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1-2 dashes cayenne pepper (depending on how fresh it is and how much spice you like)

For the Mesquite  Mash:

2 acorn squash, halved

5 oz cooked (about 2/3 cup) chestnuts (could also try pecans, soaked for 2-3 hours)

2 tsp mesquite flour

Cilantro, coarsely chopped, to serve

For the Rainbow Chard:

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch rainbow chard, roughly chopped, keeping stems separate

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

salt and pepper, to taste

For the Pumpkin Seed Sprinkle:

2/3 cup RAW pumpkin seeds

1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt (Himalayan or Celtic are great)

What to do:

Prepare the marinade for the tempeh either in a shallow bowl or quart-size plastic bag.  Fillet the tempeh into two flat rectangles.  Cut each fillet into eight strips.  Toss with marinade and place in fridge for 3-8 hours.

For the mesquite mash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place squash halves cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until a fork can easily pierce the flesh.

While the squash is baking, prepare the pumpkin seed sprinkle.  Add raw pumpkin seeds and salt to a small foil-lined baking sheet or oven-proof pan and place on top rack of oven with the squash.  Cook for 5-8 minutes, checking for a light toast (I recommend using a timer, as they burn quickly).  Remove promptly once toasted and lift foil from the pan, to prevent them from burning.

Allow the seeds to cool for a few minutes, then add to food processor.  Pulse until coarsely ground.  Pour into a small bowl and set aside.  Simply wipe out the food processor, as you’ll need it for the mesquite mash.

Once the squash is cooked, remove from oven and flip halves cut side up to cool a bit.  Meanwhile, place the chestnuts in the food processor and pulse until you get a small crumble.  Add the mesquite flour and pulse once or twice.  Scoop squash flesh into food processor and pulse until mashed, but not completely smooth.  Pour into bowl, cover with foil and set aside.

For the rainbow chard, heat oil over medium heat in a medium pan and add garlic.  Sauté garlic for 1 minute, add chard stems and sauté another minute.  Add the rest of the chard, broth or water, salt and pepper.  Cover, turn heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the chard is cooking, turn oven to broil setting and place tempeh on a small baking sheet (do NOT use parchment paper, as it will burn under the broiler).  Place on highest rack and cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, until slightly crispy (I would use a timer for this as well).

Now you can serve!  Place a dollop of the mesquite mash on a plate, top with rainbow chard and then 2 or 3 strips of chili tempeh.  Garnish with pumpkin seed sprinkle and cilantro.

Tempe al Peperoncino con Bietole Colorate e Purea al Mesquite:

4 porzioni

Cosa Serve:

Per il Tempe al Peperoncino:

1 confezione di tempe (io ho usato quello ai cereali)

3 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

2 cucchiai di succo di lime (da circa 2 lime)

1 cucchiaio di aceto di mele

2 cucchiai d’olio di vinacciolo o d’oliva

1 cucchiaino di sale marino

1 cucchiaino di paprica dolce

2 cucchiaini di paprica affumicata

2 cucchiaini di peperoncino in polvere

1/2 cucchiaino di pepe nero

1-2 pizzichi di peperoncino di Caienna (o a piacere, specialmente se è poco fresco)

Per la Purea al Mesquite:

2 zucchine, dimezzate

150 gm di castagne cotte (oppure di noce pecan, impregnate per 2-3 ore)

2 cucchiaini di farina di mesquite

coriandolo fresco, tritato, per servire

Per le Bietole Colorate:

2 cucchiaini di olio d’oliva extra vergine

4 spicchi d’aglio, tritati

1 grappolo di bietole colorate, tagliate coi gambi da parte

100 ml di brodo di verdura o d’acqua

sale e pepe, a piacere

Per il Condimento di Semi di Zucca:

1 manciata generosa di semi di zucca crudi

1/2 cucchiaino di sale

Cosa Fare:

Preparate la marinata per il tempe dentro una scodella oppure una sacchetto a gelo.  Tagliate il tempe in due filetti piatti.  Tagliate ogni filetto in otto pezzi.  Unite il tempe con la marinata e lasciate in frigo per 3-8 ore.

Per la purea al mesquite preriscaldate il forno a 200 gradi.  Metteteci le zucchine coi lati tagliati in giù in un vassoio da forno coperto di carta da forno.   Lasciate cuocere per circa 40 minuti, finché una forchetta non lo perfora facilmente.

Mentre le zucchine si cuociono, preparate il condimento di semi di zucca.  Mettete i semi di zucca e il sale in un vassoio da forno piccolo, coperto di carta stagnola e mettetelo in forno con le zucchine, ma sul ripiano più alto.  Lasciate i semi in forno per 5-8 minuti, giusto per tostarli (consiglio usare il contaminuti, dato che si brucino facilmente).  Appena tostati, rimuoverli subito dal forno e sollevate la carta stagnola dal vassoio per prevenire la bruciatura.

Fate i semi raffreddare un pò, poi metteteli nel robot da cucina.  Pulsate giusto per fare una polvere granulare.  Versateli in una scodella piccola e mettere da parte.  Non lavare il robot, perché servirà per la purea al mesquite.

Appena cotte le zucchine, rimuoverli dal forno e rovesciateli per raffreddare un pò.  In tanto che si raffreddino, mettete le castagne nel robot da cucina e pulsate per fare una sbriciolata.  Unite la farina di mesquite e pulsate altre due volte.  Aggiungete la polpa della zucchina e pulsate finché non sia una poltiglia (attenzione che non diventi troppo liscia).  Versate in una ciotola, coprite con carta stagnola e mettete da parte.

Per le bietole, scaldate l’olio in una pentola media sul fuoco medio e aggiungete  l’aglio.   Fate cuocere l’aglio per circa un minuto, aggiungete i pezzi dei gambi e fate cuocere un altro minuto.  Unite gli altri ingredienti.  Coprite, abbassate il fuoco e fate cuocere per 10 minuti, agitando ogni tanto.

Mentre le bietole si cuociono, preriscaldate il forno alla temperatura massima e ponete il tempe su un vassoio da forno piccolo (non usate la carta da forno, perché potrebbe bruciare).  Mettete sul ripiano più alto e fate cuocere per 5-7 minuti per ogni lato.  Dovrebbero essere scuriti, appena prima di bruciati (consiglio di usare il contaminuti).

Ora puoi servire!  Su un piatto mettete un mucchietto di purea di mesquite, delle bietole e 2 o 3 strisce del tempe.  Guarnite col condimento dei semi di zucca e con del coriandolo.

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