Monday, December 26, 2011

Vegetarian option to turkey

Every year I have the pleasure of hosting my husbands extended family to Christmas dinner, this year it was 16 of us.  The numbers have been diminishing every year with grown children moving away to Alberta and sadly we have lost both my husbands parents and my mother.  But this year there was addition to the family my niece gave birth to a baby boy at 1:30 on Christmas morning. What a joy it will be next year to have a baby at Christmas, this year we had to make do with my rather prickly kitten.

Christmas Kitty
My sister in law is vegetarian, and so every year I try to make a dish that will give her some protein, and as she loves beans it often involves some kind of beans. This year I set my self a challenge to create a dish that would be full of the flavours of turkey but with out trying to imitate the meat and be completely vegetarian.  So this is what I came up with.

1 cup of black eyed peas
1 cup of small white lima beans
4 cups of water
1 onion chopped
1 large garlic clove sliced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 vegetarian stock cube (try McCormick's vegetarian chicken stock cubes)
2 tablespoons of fresh sage finely chopped
1 stalk of fresh rosemary leaves stripped and chopped
1/4 cup of chopped parsley.
1/2 cup of fine breadcrumbs
zest of one lemon

I soaked the beans together in a large bowl with the 4 cups of water poured over them for about an hour. I added the fresh sage to perfume the soaking water.

I added the oil, onion and garlic to a large pot and sweated slowly until the onion was transparent.

Then I added the beans with their soaking water and the stock cube and the remaining herbs.

I simmered with the lid on until the beans were soft and most of the cooking liquid has disappeared about an hour.

I poured in to an oven proof casserole dish, I used one of my mothers pyrex souffle dishes which was a favourite of hers for serving anything baked in the oven.

I topped with the breadcrumbs mixed with the lemon rind and a little more parsley

When the turkey came out to rest I drizzled a little olive oil over the top and put in to the 350 along with the dishes that needed to be warmed up to serve.

As planned the top got crisp like the top of a cassoulet and was a nice contrast to the soft unctuous beans.

This did serve the function that I wanted and went well with all the normal turkey trimmings like cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts.

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