Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cajun-Creole-Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits

Last night at the Temporary Moore Home I cooked up some grits. Now growing up in Texas we didn't see a lot of grits about. We all heard of them, but very few people I knew had actually eaten any. When I moved to SC and fell in love with a Carolina girl, I was introduced to the southern staple. Most of the time that I have had them I don't really care for them, but I have found that when they are cooked right they make an outstanding compliment to a variety of dishes.

The recipe came out of Vegan Soul Kitchen by Bryant Terry and is a vegan reinterpretation of the southern classic, shrimp and grits. The shrimp is replaced with tempeh and the creamy part of the grits is from almond milk and creamed cashews rather than heavy cream. Both the tempeh and the grits required a good deal of time, start to finish took me about 2 hours, but the payoff in flavor was well worth it.

First I sliced the tempeh into bite size pieces and simmered them in a vegetable stock for 30 minutes. While it was simmering, I sautéed leeks with some minced garlic, made the cashew paste and measured out the spice mixture. I also quartered a pint of cherry tomatoes, mixed them with a bit of lemon juice and salt Once the tempeh was done simmering, I drained it and let the pieces dry for half an hour while I got the grits underway. The extra flavor in the grits came from using some vegetable stock in place of some of the cooking water. Once the grits had absorbed the liquids I added almond milk and let that get absorbed. Finally I added a little more water with the cashew paste and let the grits simmer for about 40 minutes until soft but not runny. I asked my beautiful southern bride be the expert on final grit constency.

Finally, while the grits were finishing up, I fried up the drained tempeh in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil for about 6-7 minutes. The frying gave the tempeh a nice crunch on the outside while the simmer gave it a great deal of flavor from the broth. Once fried, the tempeh was combined with the sautéed leeks and the cherry tomatoes.

The dish was one of the better dishes I have made yet, and we will definitely revisit it in the future, but will be saved for days when we have the time to put into it. The leftovers made a great lunch the next day as well, always a bonus.

tempeh before the simmer
the cashews await the blender blade
nine, yes NINE spices awaiting the fried tempeh
I think we're gonna need a bigger pan
creamy grits
fried tempeh given a good shake with the spices then tomatoes and leeks stirred in
serve tempeh over grits with some scallion for garnish and nom away

No comments:

Post a Comment