Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roast Tofu and Veggies

Good gravy, do I love the taste and texture of roasted potatoes!  They bring me back to Sunday dinners of yore and good times spent with family.  This dish could be your meat-free answer to traditional Thanksgiving fare, or it could be enjoyed throughout the winter months with plenty of gravy.  What follows is not a recipe per se, but more a list of possible ingredients and a method.  I am partial to mushrooms and tofu together, but you may decide against it or even swap out the tofu for beans.

Choose some or all of the root veggies below:
- potato (large chunks)
- carrot (thick slices/chunks)
- turnip (cubed)
- parsnip (thin slice)
- rutabaga (cubed)

- celery (thinly sliced)
- leek (halved and thickly sliced)
- fresh or dried thyme, sage, marjoram, savoury
- salt and pepper
- olive oil

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 8-10 slices firm or extra firm tofu
- salt and pepper
- sliced onions
- sliced mushrooms

- vegetable stock, or water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Cut up as many veggies as you see fit to use, or will fit in your roasting pan.  You can use a traditional pan, if you have it, but I use a 9x13 enamel-coated cast iron baking pan covered with a cookie sheet.  Mix veggies together with celery, leek, and herbs.  Toss with enough oil to coat well and season with salt and pepper.  Place into the roasting pan but hollow out a place in the centre for the tofu.
 2. Heat oil and margarine over med-hi heat in a large frying pan.  Season both sides with salt and pepper and fry 2-3 mins per side, until golden brown.  Remove from pan and place into the hollowed out spot in the veggie pan.  The idea here is to have the tofu roast away admist the veggies, not on top of them.  I did two rows of 5 slices each, with the top of each tofu slice overlapping the bottom of the previous slice so they could all fit. The mushroom and onion flavour will seep into the tofu as it roasts.
3. Add onions slices to the pan and cook for about 2 mins, or until just beginning to release their water, then add mushroom slices and cook for another 2 mins, or until their water is beginning to release.  Top the tofu with mushroom and onion slices.
4. Add vegetable stock or water to the pan, about 1/4" deep.  Cover pan tightly and roast for 60-90 mins (it will depend on how big your veggies are).  Check the veggies about halfway through and add more stock if they are drying out.  Baste veggies with stock from the bottom of the pan.  I like to remove the lid for the last 15 mins of roasting to brown up the veggies a bit.
5. Serve tofu slices topped with onion and mushroom, and with your favourite gravy if that is your thing.