Tempeh, Chipotle and Plantain Stew

Because it will simmer for almost an hour in the stew, here, tempeh doesn't need to be pre-cooked.

Lots of fresh cilantro is essential to the final profile of the stew.

This recipe is also, yet again, adapted from a Bryant Terry original. What can we say? We love his flavor aesthetic. And who knew you could roast ripe plantains? The man's a genius.
The stew is served at Cafe Drake HRV with millet, radishes and slivers of white Cheddar.

This is a satisfying main course we can savor at least once a week at Cafe Drake HRV. Sometimes we swap out shredded, frozen (then thawed) tofu for the tempeh and sweet potatoes stand in for the plantains. In Terry's recipe (from The Inspired Vegan) he uses canned chipotle peppers; we prefer either the powder or using two whole dried ones. Our version also cuts the amount of garlic in half.

In a large saucepan heat 2 T. olive oil. Over medium heat, cook 1 sliced red onion until soft. Add 5 garlic cloves (roughly chopped) and cook another 2-3 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn. If necessary, reduce the heat. Add 1 heaping T. chipotle powder and 1 heaping t. smoked paprika. Sprinkle on a dash or two of ground cumin and salt to taste. Stir once or twice or until the spices begin to release their aromas.

Now, remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Add to the blender 1 28-oz. can of tomatoes and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back in the saucepan, add 2 bay leaves and 3 cups vegetable stock. Bring to a low boil and add 1 8-oz. package tempeh, crumbled finely. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. The tempeh has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan if not occasionally stirred around or if the heat is too high.

While the stew gently simmers, chop two ripe plantains into small cubes (1/2") and toss with 1 T. olive oil and 1/2 t. salt. Place on a large baking sheet, in a single layer, and roast at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes. At least three times, be sure to stir the plantains so they don't stick or brown unevenly. Simply shaking the baking sheet will suffice.

When the plantains have cooked, transfer them to the stew. Also add a large handful of chopped cilantro. Cook another 3 minutes then serve hot, over rice, quinoa or millet.


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