Thursday, 15 October 2015

Stroganoff with beetroot and soy chunks and dill oil

I can't remember when it all started as it just slowly snuck up on me. 

I went travelling and never once even thought about going to a bar. Instead I filled the evenings with opera and fine dining.

Then I found myself wanting to read all the literary classics. Never managed to get beyond Gabriel Garcia Marquez, but that's beside the point

I bought Talbot's dry clean-only wool trousers with tartan check as I though they'd look lovely with a  twinset. Ok, I did get them on eBay and without any intention to schlep all the way to dry-cleaners but still.

I also noticed how my visits to my hair dresser started to take longer and longer as we debated how blonde is too blonde (surely that's a trick question?) I want Real Housewives of Orange County blonde, she uses words like "subtle" and "appropriate". 

Then it hit me. After my latest birthday my age was officially closer to 40 than 30. I'm pre-middle aged (and apparently that means too old to be a chav). 

I've even discovered taste for sherry. And dishes I've not even thought about since school canteen fill me with nostalgia. Such as stroganoff. So, I surprised myself making it the other day. Though, because of this meat-free October regime, I made mine using beets and soy chunks. 

You know, I'm going to have to share this with you. Though a refined lady acting her age probably wouldn't (on the other hand - isn't vigilance about bowel movements all the rage? Or is that something for a couple of more decades down the line?)

While I do love beets as much as the next person, that trip to the loo the morning after never fails to shock me. Every single time I just find myself fretting over what it is that I have, well, broken. So, for those of you who keep saying life only starts after 40, this is not the kind of life I was looking forward to. 

But off we go and onto the recipe! Instead of dill you can throw in thyme (half a bunch) or rosemary (4-5 sprigs), too, as beet is BFFs with both of them. In case you're after a vegan (a.k.a. dairy-free) treat, substitute sour cream with soy cream or cashew cream (for how-to see here).

Serves 6-8

Beet root and soy chunk Stroganoff:

400 g beets, peeled and cut into roughly 1 cm cubes 

175 g uncooked soy chunks
1,5 l vegetable stock

3 rkl oil
2 red onions, cut into four and then roughly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted on a dry pan and crushed with pestle and mortar
1 dl red wine (can be omitted, then just add more vegetable stock and Balsamic vinegar)
1/4 dl Balsamic vinegar
140 g tomato concentrate
4 dl vegetable stock
2 bunches of dill
240 g sour cream
salt, black pepper
2 gherkins, cut into 1/2 cm cubes

Dill oil:

the stalks from dill
6 -8 tbsp oil
pinch of salt

To save time (and nerves) parboil the beets. Either steam them or cook in a little water for 20 minutes. Drain. 

Cook the soy cubes in vegetable stock for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve the stock for later.

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until onion is soft. Add crushed fennel seeds, red wine, Basamic and, after a couple of minutes, soy chunks. Let them soak the flavours for a couple of minutes and then add beets, tomato concentrate, vegetable stock and finely chopped dill tops (reserve the stalks). Season.

Simmer, covered for about an hour until the beets are done to your liking. Then add sour cream and gherkins. Bring to boil check the taste and season as needed.

Serve with boiled rice, mashed potatos or yellow lentil puré.

I went all frugal yet fancy and drizzled the Stroganoff with dill oil. It gives the dish lovely fresh finish and you something to do with something you'd normally just discard.

Place the stalks in a small blender, heat the oil in a pan, pour into the blender as needed and blizz into a smooth oil. Season with a pinch of salt.





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