Are you guys excited for our new cookbook, The Inspired Vegan? To get us started, the nice folks at Da Capo sent over a recipe (below) from the book: Savory Grits with Sautéed Broad Beans, Roasted Fennel and Thyme.
You can see another recipe from the book, Molasses, Miso, and Maple Candied Sweet Potatoes on my other blog, Have Fun, Do Good. Enjoy!
Savory Grits with Sautéed Broad Beans, Roasted Fennel and Thyme
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Soundtrack: “Walkin Blues’” by Robert Johnson from Robert Johnson—The Complete Recordings
Book: Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression by Robin D. G. Kelley
Warm, creamy, and scrumptious, this dish will become a standard comfort food in your family’s home. The broad beans (also known as fava beans) give it an earthy richness, and the soft, melting texture of the roasted fennel adds subtle complexity. If they are available, use spring-fresh broad beans. Otherwise frozen fava beans, which you’ll find at most Middle Eastern markets, will work fine for this recipe. If broad beans are not available, fresh or frozen lima beans are a good substitution. And please make sure you use grits (I prefer yellow), not polenta, their close cousin. By the way, the roasted fennel is great as a stand-alone side dish.
2 medium-size fennel bulbs (about 3/4 pound each)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
A little over 2 pounds of fresh broad beans, or 2 cups frozen broad beans, thawed
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup Vegetable Stock (page 4)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and more for drizzling if you like
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse sea salt
4 cups Vegetable Stock (page 4)
3/4 cup yellow grits
1/2 cup Creamed Cashews (page 14)
Freshly ground white pepper
For the fennel
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Cut the stalks and fronds off the fennel, so you are left with just the round white bulbs at the base. Cut each bulb, lengthwise, into eight pieces and remove the core.
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the salt. Add the fennel and toss well to coat.
Arrange the fennel on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast until the fennel begins to caramelize, about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes for even roasting.
Sprinkle with pepper and set aside.
For the beans
If using fresh broad beans, shell, blanch, and peel them, then set them aside (see sidebar). If using frozen beans, rinse them until they are thawed and set them aside to drain.
Combine the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Add the stock, the salt, and the reserved beans. Lower the heat to medium-low, partially cover the skillet, and simmer until the beans are tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Add the thyme, stir the mixture well, and cook for an additional minute.
For the grits
In a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and add the onion, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Set aside.
In a medium-size saucepan, combine 3 cups of the stock and ½ teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Whisk the grits into the liquid until no lumps remain. Return to a boil, then quickly lower the heat to low. Simmer, whisking occasionally to prevent the grits from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the grits have absorbed most of the liquid and are beginning to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining cup of stock and simmer for another 10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the 1/2 cup of Creamed Cashews and the onion mixture, cover, and simmer, whisking frequently, until the grits are soft and fluffy, about 30 minutes.
If desired, add a few tablespoons of water to thin out the grits.
Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Top each serving of grits with several slices of roasted fennel and about 1/2 cup of the beans. If desired, drizzle each serving with a little olive oil.
Shelling, Blanching, and Peeling Fresh Broad Beans
First, bend the tip of the tough outer shell, pull down the seam, and remove the bean inside. In a saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the broad beans and cook for about 45 seconds. Drain and immediately rinse in cold running water. Transfer the beans to a bowl filled with cold water. Pinch each bean to remove its skin. Discard the skin.
Credits: From the book The Inspired Vegan by Bryant Terry. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com. Recipe photo is by Jennifer Martine.
Full disclosure: I received a review copy of The Inspired Vegan. Also, the link from The Inspired Vegan is connected to my Amazon Associates account. If you buy something after clicking on the link, I get a small portion of the sale.