No one's saying you have to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.
If you're looking for a little Southern flavor, this take on red beans and rice (adapted from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen) is just what the chef ordered. The seitan is an excellent pork substitute -- and if you pick yours up from the Denver Seitan Company (we used the SmokySpicy seitan), you'll enjoy all the convenience of store-bought seitan that has an astonishingly meat-like texture and flavor we haven't been able to achieve with our homemade efforts. It's the closest thing to andouille you can get without killing a pig.
You will need:
1 cup dry red kidney beans 1 3-inch piece kombu 4 cloves garlic 4 teaspoons dry thyme 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 10 whole black peppercorns 2-3 cups red wine 1 package Denver Seitan Company SmokySpicy (or one pound homemade seitan), cut into bite-sized chunks 1/2 cup dry short-grain brown rice (or two cups cooked) 2 jalapeno peppers 1/2 red onion 2-3 tablespoons olive oil Tabasco, salt and pepper to taste
You will need to soak the beans in plenty of water for at least four hours, and preferably overnight. If you don't want to cook the beans yourself, you can substitute one 20-ounce can of kidney beans, drained, and skip the first two steps -- but reserve 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup of the liquid.
1. Place the kidney beans in a large pot with the kombu (optional -- it does make the beans easier to digest, though!) and cover with at least two inches of water.
2. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and let the beans cook, partially covered, for about an hour and a half, until tender. Check them occasionally and add more water as needed.
3. Put the rice on to cook about half an hour before the beans are ready.
4. In a large, deep pan, place the seitan, half the thyme, the tamari or soy sauce, and two cloves of the garlic (pressed).
5. Add enough red wine to cover the seitan -- any Black Box red is perfectly acceptable for a recipe like this -- and bring the mixture to a simmer. Allow to cook for twenty minutes or so, until the seitan has absorbed the flavors.
6. De-seed and chop the jalapeno and dice the onion.
When the seitan is done, drain it and set it aside.
7. In a large pot (last one, we promise), heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the chopped jalapeno and onion and saute for ten minutes or so, until they are soft.
8. Add the drained seitan, the rest of the thyme, and press the remaining two cloves of garlic into the onions and peppers. Cook for another eight to ten minutes.
9. By now, your beans should be getting close to finished. Before you drain them, use a glass measuring cup to reserve 1/2 to 2/3 cup of liquid.
Drain the kidney beans and set aside for now.
10. Add the bean liquid (whether from the cooked beans or the pre-cooked beans) to the onion/pepper/seitan mix and stir until everything is thoroughly combined.
11. By now, your rice should be done. Add it and the drained beans to the pot.
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12. Stir everything together and continue to cook over medium heat for another five minutes, until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.