Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn Vegetable and Seitan Stew with Rustic Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Autumn is here, and therefore, it is time for hearty homey stews!  At least I thought so when I woke up this morning and it was a bit chilly.  So, as I doing my workout this morning, I made it go faster by thinking up what sort of delicious stews I could make.  I had lots of wonderful veggies to choose from, and I landed on onions, shallots, parsnips, carrots, mushrooms and potatoes.  All things that are available locally in Minnesota this time of year.  I was dreaming up a hearty stew with a luscious savory sauce, the kind my Mom used to make when I was little...however mine would be a bit different.  No meat involved here, and no onion soup mix!  I used chicken style seitan in mine, as I am a vegetarian, and my soup base was flavored with mushroom stock, Sangiovese red wine, tomato paste, worchestershire sauce, Tamari, and some nutritional yeast.  It is a wonderful combination, and makes for a lick the bowl  clean soup.  After the soup had simmered on the stove and I was devouring it with my crusty bread alongside to mop up sauces, I decided that it was better than the stew my Mom used to make!  Now earlier in the day before I started on the soup I had made some bread.  It was a zucchini yeast bread, because I have a lot of zucchini on hand right now I am trying to find uses for.  It was a wonderful crusty bread, laced with rosemary and thyme, perfect for mopping up a saucy stew, and that is why I decided to serve it with mine.  So I have included the recipe for that bread as well below after the stew recipe if you are interested. 

Autumn Vegetable and Seitan Stew
Serves 4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup shallots, diced
1 cup carrots, halved and sliced
1 cup parsnips, halved and sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried thyme
3 Tbsp good quality red wine
2 Tbsp Tamari
1 Tbsp vegan worchestershire sauce
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
10 mushrooms, sliced
2 cups diced waxy potatoes (such as yukon gold)
4 cups mushroom stock
2 16 oz pkgs chicken style seitan, cut into bite sized pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp arrowroot starch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, shallots, carrots, and parsnips, and saute until starting to soften and onions are starting to brown, about 7-10 minutes.  Add garlic, tomato paste, rosemary and thyme, and cook another minute until garlic is fragrant.  Add wine to deglaze the pan, stirring well to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom.  Add tamari, worchestershire sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, potatoes, stock, seitan and sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.  Bring stew to a boil, then lower to a simmer.  Cook for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.  Add nutritional yeast and arrowroot mixture, and cook another few minutes.  Taste for seasoning, and add more sea salt if needed.  Serve warm with some good crusty bread!

Rustic Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread Loaves
Makes 2 large loaves

About 4 cups of Zucchini, grated

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 packets of rapid rise yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp dried Rosemary
1 Tbsp dried Thyme
6 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more if needed

Place zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Toss well, and let drain over a bowl for about 30 minutes.  Squeeze dry with a towel, and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine yeast and water, and let sit 5 minutes.  Add oil, sea salt, herbs, and grated zucchini and mix well.  Stir in flour one cup at a time, until you have a dough that stiff and not too sticky, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth, about 8-10 minutes.  If dough at any time seems too sticky, add a little more flour.  When dough is finished kneading, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  Punch dough down, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Divide dough into two pieces and shape each into a long loaf.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise about 30 minutes, or until almost doubled in bulk.  Slash each loaf diagonally with a sharp knife, but just marring the surface and not cutting too deep.  Brush each loaf with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown, hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom the bread's internal temperature reads at 190-200 degrees.  Let cool on a rack. 


Joy said...

hmmm that looks great. I love the stew recipe.

Carolyn said...

Beautiful job on the whole meal! It really looks good.