Friday, January 6, 2012

Vegan Ragout with Chickpeas

Fennel is one of the few foods that I don't care for.

It confuses me.

It smells like licorice. It cuts like an onion-celery hybrid. You have to core it like a pineapple. I just can't place it. And the flavor... enigma.

So imagine my shock when I found myself picking up fennel at the store to make this ragout. Apparently, when you combine it with the right ingredients, it works! I've just been cooking it wrong.

This ragout is simple, hearty, and comes together in a heartbeat. It'll fill you up... and you won't even miss the meat.

It starts off like many soups. Chop the garlic, onion, and fennel. Cook until tender in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Add white wine, and cook it all down.

Add the rest of your veggies, broth, and let 'er go!

While you let it simmer, take excessive numbers of photos of your puppy/kitty/child/fish to pass the time.

Serve with red pepper flakes and toast points.... but don't burn them like I did!

Vegan ragout with chickpeas

Adapted from Shape magazine

1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 large red onion
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored, and chopped into bite-size pieces
1 red pepper, diced
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1/2 cup white wine
1 15-oz can of chickpeas
2 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp each dried oregano, thyme, sage

Roast the butternut squash for 20 minutes with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a 400F oven.

Heat oil in the bottom of a stockpot. Add onions, fennel, salt, and pepper; cook until tender. Add the garlic, red pepper, fennel seeds, and cook for an additional minute. Pour in wine and cook until pan is nearly dry.

Add beans and veggie broth; simmer for 15 minutes. Add the squash and sun dried tomatoes, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, adding additional water or broth if needed. Stir in the rest of the herbs and serve immediately.

With not-burnt toast-points.

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