Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hearty crepe filling I just made up!

So, it's Candlemas, which I didn't even realize it was called until this year (and my very well-educated French coworker explained the whole thing to me). Growing up, we always ate crepes on February 2, due to some vague French tradition that was never fully explained. Of course, in the US, Feb. 2 is also Groundhog Day, so there's some bizarre conflation of a deeply traditional high church-kinda holiday during which you make crepes to use up your butter and eggs before Lent and the celebration of a rodent who pretty much always sees his shadow and dooms us all to a long winter.

I don't celebrate religious holidays -- as a rule, not being religious -- and I don't need to use up any butter or eggs (I don't even keep them on hand), but I do like crepes, so I'm OK with any tradition that gives me an excuse to make them. Vegan crepes are easy and delicious, but making a meal-type filling can take a little imagination. Here's what I came up with using vegetables I had on hand from the wonderful farm share.

--2 leeks, washed and chopped
--3 cloves of garlic, minced
--1 cup vegetable broth
--1 tbsp maple syrup
--1 tbsp liquid smoke
--2-3 tbsp soy sauce or bragg's
--1 8-oz. pkg tempeh, chopped small (1/2" cubes)
--1/2 cup fresh sliced shiitake mushrooms (optional; these ultimately didn't add much)
--1 bunch kale, de-stemmed, washed, and roughly chopped
--1 tbsp dijon mustard
--1 tbsp red wine vinegar (just need some acid -- lemon juice, other vinegar would work)
--2 tomatoes, chopped
--salt and pepper to taste, plus olive oil and red pepper flakes

Saute the leeks with a pinch of salt in a little bit of olive oil until they begin to soften, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. In a small bowl, mix the broth, maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, and tempeh together. When the contents of the pot have started to brown, turn the heat up and pour the liquid + tempeh in, using the liquid to deglaze. Stir in the mushrooms, mustard, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Add kale and stir to combine. Return to a boil, then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add the tomatoes and stir, allowing them to cook down and disintegrate into the mixture -- maybe 5 minutes. By now everything should be pretty well cooked and mellow, so taste it and make any adjustments.

You can eat it with a crepe (as a filling or using pieces of the crepe to scoop it up) or maybe over rice. It's a one-pot meal, if you don't need starch. And it tastes pretty good!


Julie said...

Do you think tofu (firm, pressed) would work in place of tempeh? I've only had it once, and perhaps it was just the preparation, but I didn't care for it.

I'm interested in this recipe because I'd love to try some savory crepes, and they usually have cheese (which I don't eat, even fake cheese).

emily said...

you could give it a shot -- also, freezing tofu will give it a spongier texture that works well in a stew-like set up such as this. i think the way i made it really suits tempeh well -- the flavors play on its nuttiness and bitterness -- but crumbled tofu would probably work too.

of course, you can also just do greens + mushrooms. really hard to go wrong with that as a crepe filling. and instead of cheese, you could experiment with some kind of nutritional yeasty/mustard sauce, but i don't have a recipe for that. i was going to do that but ended up doing this stuff with tempeh and it was saucy enough on its own.