Caramelized Leek and Fennel Tempeh with White Wine and Dijon

March 6, 2012

I mentioned in a previous post that I love tempeh, but find it more difficult to cook with than tofu. It just doesn’t seem as obvious to me what flavors to pair it with, and since it’s not a sponge like tofu, you can’t just marinate the flavors into it. In the past, I’ve made quite few tempeh dishes that suffered from an overzealous application of dried herbs, and were pretty much palatable in the way I imagine army field rations would be palatable if you hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. I did have a fairly good result a few weeks ago (see Tempeh with Mushrooms, Leeks, Shallots and Tomatoes), but this week I finally hit on something that was honestly delicious!

The inspiration for this one was the result of my addition of some Grey Poupon to a sauce I made for a different dish a few weeks ago. I added it on a whim after doing some searches on what herbs and spices go together and seeing mustard showing up in several lists. And I loved the way it tasted. I got to thinking that the sharpness of dijon might be just the thing for tempeh. So I decided it was time to go for another tempeh recipe again. I’ve really enjoyed caramelized onions lately, but thought for variety I would try out caramelized leeks and fennel. (As a side note, I have to say – caramelized leeks are AWESOME! I’m definitely going to plan a meal highlighting those in the future).

I steamed the tempeh for 20 minutes, sautéed some pepper and garlic, and then caramelized the leeks and fennel (well, I caramelized the leeks – the fennel would have taken longer, so it was semi-caramelized). After all the vegetables were done, I made a sauce (more of a glaze, really) with white wine, stock, and Grey Poupon, and then added a small bit of tarragon and marjoram. And I was thrilled with the result — very tasty. A triumph with tempeh!

Tempeh, Caramelized Leeks and Fennel with White Wine and Dijon

Tempeh, Leeks, Fennel, Bell Pepper and Garlic

Caramelized Leek and Fennel Tempeh with White Wine and Dijon

1 block tempeh, sliced thinly along the short edge, and then cut into thirds
3 leeks, chopped
1-2 bulbs fennel, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 tsp olive oil
1/2 c vegetable stock
2 Tbsp white wine
1 Tbsp Dijon (I used Grey Poupon)
2-4 Tbsp water
1/8 to 1/4 tsp dried tarragon
1/8 to 1/4 tsp dried marjoram
salt
pepper

Steam the (pre-cut) tempeh for about 20 minutes, then set aside. While the tempeh is steaming, sauté the bell pepper in 1 tsp of olive oil for several minutes until mostly tender, then add the garlic and sauté for an additional 30 seconds or so. Remove from the pan, and set aside. Saute the leeks and fennel in 1-2 tsp of olive oil over medium high heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, add 1 tsp of sugar, and several shakes of salt and grinds of pepper, and continue to cook for 7-12 more minutes, deglazing with water as necessary every couple of minutes. Taste the leeks and fennel, and once they are caramelized to your liking, add the white wine, 1/2 c vegetable stock, Dijon, marjoram, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on medium for several minutes, until the sauce reduces to more of a glaze. (Add more vegetable stock if there isn’t enough liquid – you’ll want to cook it for a several minutes to build the flavor, so make sure there’s enough liquid to do so).

Tempeh and Caramelized Leeks and Fennel with White Wine and Dijon

Caramelized Leek and Fennel Tempeh with White Wine and Dijon

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