Crockpot Cookery ~ Vegan Basque Stew

Vegan Basque Stew

Coming home to a fully cooked one-dish supper was once only possible if someone else cooked the meal for you. Having a slow cooker means that with a minimum of time and preparation you can have a delicious meal waiting at the end of the day.

Meals made in a crockpot are easy to assemble and especially useful for dishes that improve with long simmering.  Stews are an obvious choice, as flavors deepen and sauces thicken during slow cooking. You need only to adjust the seasonings before serving.

Crockpots are especially popular with busy homemakers juggling family and career. Anyone with a demanding lifestyle can appreciate the convenience of setting up the crockpot in the morning when you leave for work and coming home to find dinner ready and waiting.

Enlightened Basque Stew is healthful rendition of a dish rooted in a colorful culture with a unique heritage. Basque Cuisine reflects a strong French and Spanish influence and this delightful dish is rich in bold tastes that profit from long simmering.

Basque cooks often use a hearty mix of flavors and textures. This healthful version features a tasty ground sausage alternative and chicken style seitan (say-tan). Also called wheat gluten, seitan has a meaty texture that readily absorbs flavor.

Crockpots tend to have larger capacity and because the heating elements are located along the sides as well as on the bottom, it is essential to use a sufficient volume of ingredients. The slow cooker should be about three-quarters full, so there will likely be plenty of tasty leftovers.

Enlightened Basque Stew
The Enlightened Kitchen, John Wiley & Sons, ©Marie Oser
Serve this hearty dish with pita pockets and a salad.
8 Servings

1 (16 oz. package) chicken flavored seitan, reserve broth
2 cups sliced baby carrots
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 (14 oz package) Gimme Lean Sausage
1 (14 oz.) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 (14 1/2 oz. can) Mexican stewed tomatoes
1 (6 oz can) low sodium tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine (Merlot or Cabernet)
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon each: dried thyme, marjoram and granulated garlic
Sriracha or other hot pepper sauce to taste

Tear seitan into large bite-size pieces, reserving the broth. Set aside. Place the carrots and seitan broth in the crock-pot and turn indicator to high. Heat olive oil and crushed pepper in medium frying pan over medium high heat, one minute.  Saute` garlic, onions and bell pepper 2 minutes; add Gimme Lean and seitan, cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add to slow cooker with stewed tomatoes and artichokes. Spoon in tomato paste and add red wine and water, thyme, marjoram and granulated garlic. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover and set on high for 6 to 8 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste before serving.

Nutrition Analysis: per 2 cup serving
Calories 207 Protein 19g, Carbohydrates  29g, Fiber 9g, Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 76 mg, Sodium 600mg.

Marie Oser is a best-selling author, writer/producer and host of VegTV. Her latest book is The Skinny on Soy.  Follow Marie on Facebook and Twitter