Friday, 15 August 2008

The Scientist goes vegan

Ho ho - of course that post title was only true for the course of one dinner but I loved writing it. It's a good thing he's not reading over my shoulder.

It may not seem like it from this blog but The Scientist does do a fair bit of the cooking when I relax my stranglehold on the meal plans. He has a set of standby dishes he likes to cook, a lot of which are one-pot versions of things I originally got from a recipe and made a whole heap more mess making. A while ago I suggested that he expand his repertoire a bit, and he agreed to have a look through a cookbook of my choice and select a recipe. I whipped out Veganomicon, plonked it down in front of him and ran away before he could protest.

Jambalaya with pan-fried greens

Now The Scientist is not averse to vegan food per se but it's definitely not in his normal remit of comfort cooking so I was very intrigued to see what he picked. He chose a jambalaya, which originally had seitan in it, but seitan is below things that come from beans and shouldn't on his list of acceptable foodstuffs, and got left out without a second thought. It had peppers and two sorts of beans in it, and it got the thumbs up from both of us. It was hearty but had enough different flavours in it to retain variety, and the flavours made it more than a big pile of stodge. I read a couple of comments on forums saying that it wasn't spicy enough but I quite liked the level of spice as it was (unlike the Snobby Joes I made a couple of weeks ago which were too hot to eat). We froze half and just ate the remaining portion the other day, which is what reminded me how good it was. I think it might even have improved, and the rice was nicely mooshed up a bit with the beans. I think the seitan would be quite a nice addition but you definitely don't need it, and without it it's even carnivore-friendly.

I'm going to duck out of posting the full recipe this time as it's not on the ppk forum and so they might not like it appearing. But the basic idea is: saute onion, celery, green pepper and garlic in an oven proof pot until they're very soft. Add some tomato paste. Deglaze with some alcohol and add rice, then diced tomatoes (canned), two tins of beans, a bay leaf, some thyme, marjoram, paprika, celery seed, onion powder and cayenne, salt and pepper. Add some veg stock and simmer, then put the whole lot in the oven, covered, for 30-35 mins (or longer if using brown rice). Allow to sit before serving.

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