Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Vegan with a Vengeance

Yes, you read correctly. Vegan with a Vengeance is a new cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz which is getting a lot of raves in vegan circles. In fact, one recipe of hers, Mashed Potatoes with Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy, is so popular, that I decided to try it today. Don't let the seemingly odd combination or long list of ingredients throw you - it is absolutely delicious! Something even an avowed plain meat and potatoes person would find tasty. Even the pickiest kid will find this tasty. And even though there is a long list of a pinch of this and a pinch of that - its not spicy at all, its very mild and delicious, much MUCH tastier than the fake chicken or beef gravy that you get from a packet of dry gravy mix. Much. This is made from stuff you most likely already have in your pantry, except for the mustard seeds and the nutritional yeast, and see my notes for substitutions.

I made the recipe exactly as written, but next time.... Some WINE! YES!

Mash 2 lbs of potatoes - you know what to do. If you don't, email me and I'll send you a recipe.
While they are cooking, get to work on the gravy.

Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy
makes about 3 cups

1/4 C all purpose flour
Approximately 2 1/2 C water
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium sized onion, quartered and sliced thin
2 tsp mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 C cooked chickpeas, or 1 can, rinsed and drained
2 pinches ground cumin
2 pinches paprika
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch dried thyme
1 pinch dried oregano
1 pinch dried coriander
3 Tbs soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C nutritional yeast

Mix the flour with 2 cups of water until the flour is mostly dissolved. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, onions and mustard seeds; cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are browned and the mustard seeds are toasted. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Add the chickpeas; use a potato masher to mash them -- you don't want to mash them into a paste, just make sure each one is broken up although if there are a few whole ones left, that is ok. Add the herbs and spices, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits of onion. Lower heat and pour the flour mixture into the pan. Stir constantly until a thick gravy forms. Stir in the nutritional yeast. If it looks too thick and pasty, add more water and mix well. It may look like it doesn't want any more water added to it, but just keep mixing and it will loosen up. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Notes: I didn't have any mustard seeds, so I used 1/2 tsp of ground mustard powder instead, and added with the onions as the recipe said. I tasted the gravy before I added the nutritional yeast, because I'm not a big fan of nutritional yeast, and the gravy was yummy without it, but I decided to make the recipe as written. Am I glad that I did! It was good before, but with the nutritional yeast, it was simply divine! Isa says that once you eat this gravy, you will make it once a week. I concur.

This is a very filling meal. Add a salad and that's all you'll want to eat. Trust me on this. Serves 4 to 6.

Five stars!!!


Anonymous said...

This was great! One question - is your nutritional yeast flakes or really fine, like flour? Mine is the latter and while it still tasted really good, I wondered if the "fine grind" of my nutrional yeast meant that I should have put in a little less. . . .

Sara Gothard said...

I was posting about this gravy recipe on my own blog The Celery Museum. Looking for a reprint of the recipe, I came across your post. This gravy one of my favorites as well. If you don't know Table for Two by Joanne Stepaniak, it also has some extremely good vegan gravy and sauce recipes. Thanks for your post! I'm linking to it.