Thursday, 29 October 2015

Slow-cooked soy crumb Bolognese and Valdifalco Morellino di Scansano

In case the previous soy recipes there are still people among you who feel skeptic about the virtues of soy-based meat substitutes, I have a sure-fire hit on my hands. Right here, people Da bomb. Just keep reading and you'll soon see what I mean. 

Bolognese, schmolognese, you might say (in case you were drunk and/or fully versed in Yiddish), but stand corrected, that is so not the case. Slow-cooking mellows the flavours and results in  Italian comfort food at its best. This soy Bolognese is as comforting and full of love as Nonna's arms, whose embrace will make even the shittiest week seem like a distant memory. I dare you. Not one of you would ever guess it's vegetarian. Let me repeat that: not a single one. 

Sure, it takes some time for this pot of love to come together, but you know what? That's all it takes. No real work is required as it just cooks away on the stove, all on its own. And in the meanwhile you are free to engage i other acts of love. In the kitchen... or in any other room...!

Serves 4-6

Slow-cooked soy Bolognese:

a couple of tbsp oil
1 celery stick, chopped in small cubes
1 large carrot, chopped in small cubes
1 onion, chopped in small cubes
4 largeish cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1,5 dl red wine
half a bunch of fresh thyme (or 1,5 tbsp dried)
3 bay leaves
4 dl soy crumbs
5 dl veggie stock
2 tins finely chopped crushed tomatos
salt, black pepper

Sauté garlic, celery, onion and carrot in oil over medium heat (lest they burn) until soft and the onion is translucent. Add thyme, bay leaves and red wine. Let it come to boil and then add soy crumbs. Let them soak up the flavours for a couple of minutes and add veggie stock. 

Cover and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Then add tomatos. Stir, season, cover and leave to simmer over gentle heat for 3,5 hours. 

Check the taste and season as needed. Serve.

Either with pasta..

... or keep going and turn it into a vegetarian/ vegan shepherd's pie.

You can use regular mashed potatos as well, but seeing how soy crumbs are so full of nutrients I opted for something equally nutrient and high in fiber and protein: yellow lentils. So, not only is this comforting and meat-free - this is practically super food! That ought to keep you loving long time!

Vegetarian/ vegan shepherd's pie with soy Bolognese:

1 portion of slow-cooked soy Bolognese

Yellow lentil mash:

5 dl yellow lentils
7.5 dl water or vegetable stock
25 g butter
1 egg yolk (for a vegan version use lentils' cooking water instead of butter and yolk)
3/4 tsp granulated garlic
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1,5 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
salt, white pepper

If you have time, soak the lentils in cold water for 20 minutes as this helps them cook faster.

Boil lentils until done (15-20 minutes) and drain. Puré with the rest of the ingredients, check the taste and season. 

Spoon into an oven-proof dish over the Bolognese layer. 

If you want, you can decorate it with fork (as in over here) or by piping little rosettes (as over here).

Bake at 225°  until golden. Serve.

This is perfect dish for a cozy Sunday lunch, so surely it deserves some wine to go with it, non?

And seeing how this is a celebration of Italian flavours, the wine I chose for this comes from Italy as well. Valdifalco Morellino di Scansano is Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 

Its got some tannins alright, but combined with the Bolognese's sweetness and softness (that's the magic of slow-cooking)  it provides a nice balance to it. 

A good pairing with tomato-based pastas and (vegetarian) stews and herbs such as fresh basil and rosemary are something this wine loves. 

And in case you're still not ready to give soy the go-ahead, try this traditional version with lamb or this homage to my heritage: reindeer herder's pie!




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