Tag Archives: leftovers

Vegan Cornbread + Leftover Stew

12 Sep

Last night was a “Leftover Stew” night. I personally love nights like these because I think that making sure leftovers dont get moldy in the back of the fridge is an important part of being a cook. Waste is such a dishonour to the food that sustains and nourishes us. If you are clever and careful, leftovers can become healthy nutritious meals. We had about a cup each of quinoa, roasted butternut and garlic, and kale. At first I thought I would make a salad, but there wasnt really enough for four hungry adults. So I made stew.

There is something about sitting around the table with my family, knowing that they had a long and tiring day, and sharing a homemade dinner. Outside, the season is changing, there is a chill in the air and the scent of woodsmoke. Its getting darker earlier, so when we sit down, the light has gone, but inside it is warm and bright. The scent of simmered vegetables, softened with wine and brightened with chili, the sweet nuttiness of the cornbread… all these are good things, but it is the company, the laughter, the sense of being comforted and nourished deep down that makes me most happy. The joys of a communal meal are amongst the purest and sweetest.

And to be honest, making the stew was an exercise in simplicity. I sauteed some onions in olive oil until they were just slightly browned. I added chili flakes, paprika and oregano for a hit of heat. Four large portobello mushrooms went in next, adding their musky flavour. Half a cup of red wine, half a cup of water, a can of beans and all the leftovers. Salt and pepper. And then for sparkle, I chopped up about a cup of heirloom baby tomatoes and added them, not cooking them down entirely, but letting them add their liquor to the sauce. With it I served cornbread and guacamole (an avocado, almost too ripe, mashed with salt and pepper and a squirt of lemon juice). Totally vegan and put together in under half an hour. And it felt really good to know that nothing in this house goes to waste.

This cornbread recipe is adapted from one that Cook’s Illustrated published. It won the blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair for 11 year old Dana Sly. The secret is ground flax seeds – which are good for you in innumerable ways – that when simmered with water become a thick paste. This paste keeps the cornbread moist and enhances its nuttiness. If you cant find flax seed meal, just grind up some flax seeds in your food processor. I added some fresh corn, tossed in some flour to ensure that the corn didnt sink to the bottom of the bread. But the recipe is Dana Sly’s and I salute her!

  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn tossed with 1 tbsp flour

Preheat the oven to 210 C (420 F). Rub a baking pan with margarine or spray it with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax seed, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the ground flax seed in the water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.

Add the ground flax seed mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, combine well but dont over mix.

In a separate small bowl, toss together the corn kernels with the flour, and just mix into the batter.

Turn into prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Serve with Leftover Stew for a beautifully vegan dinner.