Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Caldo Verde

My boyfriend is away for the next two nights and I was home sick today so I thought it would be a good night to make nice comforting meal - soup of course! So I cooked up some Caldo Verde from Vegan on the Cheap, and it certainly did the trick.

The soup included Vegan on the Cheap's Smoky Tempeh Bits, though I didn't liquid smoke in my pantry to make it as the recipe calls for. I did, however, have a fresh package of Lalibella Farm's homemade tempeh in my fridge. So I modified the recipe. I'm not 100% happy with the results, mainly because I used the amount of soy sauce in the recipe without remembering to halve it (for some reason, all of the recipes in this book use an absorbent amount of soy sauce). 

So take the recipe and modifications and make your own changes and let me know what you come up with! Enjoy!

Caldo Verde - modified from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 lbs potatoes (the recipe calls for russet, but I used a mixed bag of gourmet which included red, purple, and yukon potatoes - and I must say make the soup look more colorful!)
8 cups veggie stock or water (make your own stock!)
1 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
1.5 cups cooked or 1 15.5 oz. can white beans, drained & rinsed
6 cups finely chopped kale
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Smoky Tempeh Bits (see recipe below)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over med. heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened, about 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the potatoes, stock, marjoram, crushed red pepper, and about 1 tsp of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Stir in the beans. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. (You might need to add more salt if you used water instead of stock.) Keep the soup at a low simmer. 

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add the kale and the wine, if using. Season with black pepper to taste. Add 1/4 cup of the stock from the soup. Cook, stirring until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir the kale mixture into the soup and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the flavors are well blended. 

When ready to serve, stir the tempeh bits into the soup. Serve hot. 

Smoky Tempeh Bits
8 oz. tempeh
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 Tbsp olive oil

In a medium saucepan of simmering water, cook the tempeh over medium heat for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Crumble or chop the tempeh into small bits and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, water, and liquid smoke (I didn't have liquid smoke so I used the soy sauce, water and added some Dijon mustard. I liked the mustardy flavor but the soy sauce was very over-powering, so I'll need to play with this next time I make it!). Set aside. 

In a med skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Add the tempeh and cook, stirring until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture, stirring to coat the tempeh. Continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and the tempeh is evenly coated. Remove from heat.

Cover and refrigerate or freeze what you don't use, until needed. Properly stored, it will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer 3-4 weeks

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