Saturday, January 14, 2012

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

For my first new vegan recipe for the year I had a flick through Veganomicon by the Post Punk Kitchen crew.  It is such a great book filled with so many delicious sounding recipes that it was hard to chose.  I have book marked lots more recipes for future vegan cooking adventures.

I chose Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits.  Probably because the name caught my eye.  Cassoulet with biscuits!  ~ Insert giggle ~ Because "biscuits" are sweet cookies in Australia, and who has ever heard of a Cassoulet?  Well, probably you have, but it was a new word to me.  According to Wikipedia (that perfectly reliable and thorough information source) a Cassoulet is a slow cooked bean stew from the South of France containing white haricot beans.

So I guess we can just say I cooked a Bean Stew with Dumplings.

Verdict: satisfying, homely and nutritious.  Not exactly a "knock your socks off" kind of dish but a good base recipe that you could easily modify by changing the veggies/legumes/seasonings to suit your taste buds.  It would also be a great recipe to use up any veggies getting close to their "best before: date that you can find lurking in the bottom of most peoples fridges and veggie boxes.

I was hoping that the recipe would be on the Post Punk Kitchen website so I could just link you to it but no such luck.  However this recipe on the site for Dilly Stew with Rosemary Dumplings is kinda similar. 

I stuck to the recipe pretty closely as it is the first time I have made a Cassoulet with Biscuits (giggle again - yes I am that childish).  The only changes I made were to leave out the salt, add a few extra peas and carrots, and just before putting it in the oven I added another can of beans as it seemed a little light on for beans.  I had only bought one tin of white beans so the second tin were kidney beans - which added a little colour so I was pretty happy with the outcome.

The dumplings are very similar to the damper I sometimes make when we have soup.  You can find the recipe here.  I love adding herbs to my damper and I think that adding a little chopped fresh herbs to these dumplings would be great too.

Dear husband and I drizzled some truffle oil on top of our stew.  Mm mm mmmmmm!  Thanks mum for buying it for us!

Below is the recipe for this stew and dumplings with my additions.  It might look a little long but it is really pretty simple to make..  I will definitely be making this recipe again and tweaking it each time.  I think it can be used as a very versatile base from which you can let your creative energies be guided by the whims of your taste buds.

Stew Ingredients
2 potatoes, cut into small pieces, boiled until not quite soft and drained.
3 cups veggie stock
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced (~ 2 cups)
1 small onion, medium diced
2 cups diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon copped fresh thyme
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
2 cans beans, drained and rinsed (I used white beans and kidney beans, but I think butter beans would be really nice too)

Dumpling Ingredients
¾ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1½ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegan margarine or shortening

1. Preheat the oven to 220oC (425oF).
2. If you have not already boiled you potatoes do so now.
3. Combine the milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside.
4. Mix the cornstarch into the stock and set aside.
5. If you have an oven proof skillet - use it.  If not use your soup pan.  Saute the leeks, onion and carrots in the oil over a medium heat until soft and just beginning to brown - about 10 minutes.
6. Add the garlic, thyme and pepper and cook for 1 more minute.
7. Add the potatoes, peas and stock mixture.
8. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and leave gently simmering while you make the dumplings.
9. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
10. Cut the margarine into the flour and then mix with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs.
11. Add the soy milk and mix with a fork until it is just combined.
12. Gently knee the dough about 10 times with floured hands - just do it in the bowl, no need to mess up your kitchen bench any more than you already have.
13. Add the beans to the stew. If you have not used a skillet it is time to transfer your stew to an oven proof casserole dish.
14. Break off chunks of the dumpling mix and form roughly into golf sized balls.  Drop on top of the stew about an inch apart.
15. Bake for 15 minutes until just slightly browned.
16. Use a large serving spoon to ladle into bowls taking care to have the dumpling on top.

Before and after baking.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Add some bacon and you will have a real nice cassoulet.

Real milk and butter too.