I have a *slight* obsession with food, especially comfort food that makes your belly feel warm & full on raw winter days. The following dish is one of my absolute favorites, from one of my staple cookbooks Veganomicon. This is a brilliant cookbook. While I am not truly a vegan, I decided a few years ago to avoid meat, limit saturated fats, eliminate dairy and more recently eliminate gluten from my diet. I chose a plant-based diet supplemented with eggs and fish for extra protein and heart healthy omega’s. I felt compelled to cook more at home, from scratch. With plants as the foundation of my diet I decided to cook vegan as much as possible. Most of my cookbooks are vegan, and on days when I eat fish as a main course I partner it with vegan side dishes, rice or quinoa. This amazing, tasty stew is vegan and gluten free.
My variation of the Veganomicon recipe is below. In the original version, they top with biscuits under the broiler. I haven’t yet been able to get the biscuits the way I want them, so I omit that part of the recipe and enjoy this as a simple stew. I serve gluten free rolls on the side – I prefer the Schar Ciabatta Rolls. You can certainly try adding other vegetables to make this your own, but fair warning…I’ve modified this recipe with zucchini, mushrooms and parsnips and it just isn’t the same. It’s perfect as-is! Enjoy.
Leek & Bean Cassoulet
3 – 4 Yukon gold potatoes, mostly peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, washed well and sliced very thinly (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, cut into small dice
1 1/2 cups of carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, plus extra for garnish (or I have used 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme)
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Place the potatoes in a small pot and cover with water. Cover and ring to a oil. Once oiling, let cook for about ten minutes, until the potatoes are just tender enough to be pierced with a fork. Drain immediately so that they do not overcook. While they are cooking you can prep the rest of the veggies.
Mix the cornstarch into the vegetable stock until dissolved.
Preheat a skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Saute in the oil the leeks, onions, and carrots until very soft and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Keep the heat moderate so they do not burn.
Add the garlic, thyme, freshly ground pepper, and salt, and cook for 1 more minute. Add the cooked potatoes and frozen peas, then pour in the vegetable stock mixture. Raise the heat just a bit; it will take a few minutes but the liquid will start simmering. Once it does, lower the heat again. Let it simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, but no longer than that. Mix in the beans.
Turn the heat to low and leave on the stove for another 15 minutes. Serve at last!