This one was a winner on all fronts: me, the health and calorie conscious cook, my husband the ‘meat’ and potatoes vegetarian, and my daughter, the junk food lover. Rarely does something I make please everyone, so I knew I needed to share this one. It was inspired by last week’s veggie box which was heavy on spring veggies: carrots, leeks, green garlic, black radish (very cool new veg for us, but could easily be replaced by turnips, parsnips or even plain old potatoes in the recipe) and fennel. I had made a big batch of seitan the day before, and this stew was the perfect use for it. Seitan is ridiculously expensive to buy premade, but fairly simple and economical to make yourself at home. Chicken would be a fine stand in.
Seitan and Spring Vegetable Stew
2 small fennel bulbs, fronds trimmed and halved lengthwise
4-6 leeks, cut into 1-2 inch rounds
4-6 stalks green garlic, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1-2 pounds carrots, cut into 1 inch rounds
1-2 black radishes cut into bite size pieces
seitan in whatever amount you want, cut into bite size pieces (I think I used about 12 ounces)
6-8 cups vegetable stock (I use better than bullion and am always happy with the flavor, but of course homemade is ALWAYS superior)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (all purpose flour would be fine, but I prefer the nutty flavor and macronutrient profile of chickpea flour for savory dishes)
Chop veggies and wash (I chop first then wash, seems to make it easier to wash everything together). Heat a bit of olive oil in a soup pot, and add veggies when it’s hot. Saute over med-high heat until veggies start to soften. Add the seitan and continue cooking until everything starts to brown nicely. Add the stock. This is what it should look like at this point:
Bring to a simmer and let cook until everything is cooked through. Move the stew to a large bowl, straining off the liquid into a separate container. Now put the soup pot back on the stove over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and the chickpea flour. Whisk until the flour starts to brown and form a thick paste with the oil, then whisk in the reserved cooking liquid. Continue whisking until the lumps dissolve and the sauce thickens into a rich gravy. Return stew to pan and stir. It’s ready to eat! Just like that! We served it over quinoa with freshly ground sea salt and pepper and it was delicious.