Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tofu & Vegetable Cacciatore with Microwave Polenta

This is a simple yet very delicious meal that I made by combining 2 recipes from FatFree Vegan Kitchen.I had bookmarked her tofu cacciatore which she had served with roasted spaghetti squash.Since spaghetti squash is not available here,I searched her blog again and found this quick polenta recipe which she had served with grilled veggies.She had made a herbed polenta in the microwave in minutes.So I decided to combine the two and the result was a delicious vegan Italian meal.


Tofu & Vegetable Cacciatore

Cacciatore means hunter in Italian."Alla cacciatora" refers to a 'hunter style' meal with onion,tomatoes,bell peppers,herbs and mushroom.It is normally or popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit and I found a suitable vegan version in Susan's Tofu and Vegetable Cacciatore.

Ingredients:
Onion: 1 medium coarsely chopped
Bell Pepper: 1 medium
Mushrooms: 1 cup chopped
Tomatoes: 2 small chopped
Tomato Paste: 3tbsp+ as per taste

Tofu (extra firm): 1 small pack cubed
Carrot: 1 medium
Eggplant:1 medium

Garlic: 1 clove chopped
Basil: 1/2 -1 tsp dried or few leaves fresh
Oregano: 1-1.5 tsp
Thyme: 1/2 tsp
Pepper: generous grating.
Salt: as per taste

Veg Broth" 1.5 cup +

Preparation:

Place tofu on paper towels and let it drainfor 10-15 minutes.It does not need to be too dry though.If you have frozen the tofu,thaw in the fridge overnight and then do this.Chop the carrots,and the eggplant into cubes or slices.Coursely chop all the other veggies of onion,tomato,bell pepper and mushrooms.

Heat a large skillet or pan with olive oil and saute onion till golden.Add the garlic ,rest of the veggies except tomatoes and little salt and cover and cook for few minutes till thet start to become tender.Add tofu cubed and half cup of veg broth and cook unconvered for about 1 minute.

Here I have used broth rather that the wine mentioned.Cacciatores do contain wine but it can be replaced with veg broth.

Combine rest of the broth (1 cup) and tomato paste and stir until smooth.Add this and the tomatoes chopped to the pan.Add the spices and more salt and stir well.Let it cook covered till tender for around 20-30 minutes on low heat.If you are adding fresh basil (I did),then add during the last few minutes.

Serve with bread,rice,pasta or polenta.

Microwave Herbed Polenta

Polenta is made from boiled cornmeal.You can use white or yellow cornmeal though the latter is healthier.Traditionally it is a slow cooked dish,though several shortcuts are available.Basically it takes atleast 1 hour with constant stirring or you can leave it on stove top with no stirring for hours.Cooked polenta can be cut into your choice of shapes and can be pan fried,fried, baked etc.I used the quick polenta recipe of Susan where she served grilled vegetables with microwave herbed polenta.

Ingredients:
Water:2 cups
Yellow Cornmeal:1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp
Salt:1tsp
Extra Virgin Olive Oil :1tsp (optional)
Black Pepper: generous grating
Basil/Oregano/other herbs: optional and to taste

Preparation:
Put the water, cornmeal, herbs and salt into a large microwavable casserole dish. Cook at full power for 6 minutes. Stir well and cook again at high power for 4 more minutes.The total of (6+4) minutes depends on the power of your microwave.Mine took only 6 minutes in total (4+2).Remove from the microwave, stir in the optional oil and more pepper and herbs. Stir well.

Put in an oiled loaf pan/suitable dish,smooth the top and chill for atleast 1 hour in the refrigerator so that it sets. Remove from the pan/dish,cut into your choice of shapes and lightly brown in a non stick pan.Serve with Tofu Cacciatore.




This was the first time I was trying both the dishes and they turned out well .I was a bit varied about the polenta,but I liked it as I had made it very spicy.Thanks Susan for the wonderful recipes and obviously a warm plate of this delicious vegan meal is off to Vaishali who is currently hosting Tried & Tasted:FatFreeVeganKitchen,an event by dear Zlamushka.


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