Saturday, March 16, 2013

Braised Tempeh with Fennel and Spring Vegetables

Well, I know it's been a minute, but I'm back again with some new recipes just perfect for this time of year.  On days like today, when it is sleeting outside (well, it is here in Philadelphia anyway), it might be hard to believe that spring is right around the corner, but indeed it is.  My next few recipe posts will highlight fresh and seasonal spring vegetables that will be making their way into farmer's markets and supermarkets alike very, very soon.  Cooking with fresh, local veggies is always the best way to go, so add some of these recipes to your spring cooking arsenal.

Don't be intimidated when you scroll down and see the ingredients list.  Once you have the veggies chopped, this recipe comes together quite quickly and easily, and it makes enough to have leftovers for quite a while.  This recipe is a delicious combination of marinated and braised tempeh with crisp veggies like fennel, yellow bell pepper, and green beans.  Everything is sauteed gently and then braised in the herbed white wine marinade from the tempeh with plum tomatoes and even more fresh herbs.  Serve the whole thing over rice, couscous, or quinoa for a colorful and flavorful springtime feast.

Braised Tempeh with Fennel and Spring Vegetables
serves 6-8


8 ounce package tempeh

1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce 
1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon thyme, crumbled a bit in your fingers
 several grinds fresh black pepper 

2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced into thin half moons
1 fennel bulb, sliced 1/4" thick
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced 
2 cups halved green beans
1 - 28 ounce can whole tomatoes with juice
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 - 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
zest from 1 orange
2 teaspoons salt
several grinds fresh black pepper
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley  

Cut the tempeh into cubes about 3/4 of an inch.  Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish.  Add the tempeh and marinate at least 30 minutes (but the longer the better), tossing halfway through marinating to ensure that all sides are covered in the marinade.
Heat the 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-low heat.  Add the 3 cloves minced garlic and sliced onion.  Cook for 12 minutes until onion is carmelized.  Add the tempeh along with the marinade to the pot and raise the heat to medium.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the fennel, bell pepper, and green beans and cook for another 3 minutes.
Remove the tomatoes from the can and slice widthwise into approximately 1/2" sections.  Add the tomatoes to the pot.  Add the cornstarch to whatever juice is left in the can from the tomatoes and whisk with a fork until most of the lumps have dissolved.  Add the juice to the pot with the sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme.
Now, take a moment to look at how pretty this all is:

Make sure everything is mixed together and that the sprigs of fresh herbs are incorporated into the mixture.  Cover the pot and allow everything to simmer together for 20 minutes.
Now uncover the pot, remove the rosemary and thyme sprigs, and give everything a stir.  Add the drained and rinsed beans, orange zest, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Stir again and turn off the heat.  Allow everything to sit for 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors.  Serve and enjoy!

I hope you all decide to try this recipe as the weather turns warmer.  It is beyond delicious and perfect for dinner after a trip to the farmer's market.  Mike and I both loved it and I'll definitely be making this again!

Up soon, more springtime recipes, including how to cook and eat fresh, whole artichokes (if you've never had one you are in for a treat and they're easy to make and fun to eat!) with yummy sweet and spicy dipping sauce.  As always, feedback is appreciated, and see you all soon!


The Fur Ninja <3

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