The Conscious Cook’s Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh with Smoked Tomato Sauce, Green Chile Relish, Black Bean Puree and Braised Kale Recipe & Review

Tal Ronnen uses tempeh to make a super flavorful Mexican dish in “The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat”.  Tal’s recipe for Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh with Smoked Tomato Sauce, Green Chile Relish, Black Bean Puree and Braised Kale is wonderful “as-is”, but if I am in a time crunch and don’t have time for all of the steps (or if I am missing some of the ingredients), I have found it to still be yummy if you just make the tempeh and use salsa for on top.  However, if you have time to cook the entire dish (around 2 hours), it is well worth it!  Here is the recipe with my comments and thoughts:


Ingredients for Tempeh:
– 8 TB shoyu soy sauce
– 2 dried chipotle chiles
– 2 dried ancho chiles
– 1 bay leaf
– 1″ piece of ginger, sliced into 1/8″ pieces
– 10 peppercorns
– 2 (8 ounce) packages of tempeh
– 2 garlic cloves

Ingredients for Smoked Tomato Sauce:
– 3 TB Earth Balance (a vegan margarine)
– 1/2 cup vegetable stock
– 2 cans (12 ounces) fire-roasted tomatoes
– 2 dried ancho chiles
– 2 dried chipotle chiles
– 1 celery stalk, diced
– 2 garlic cloves
– 2 carrots, diced
– 1 onion, diced
– 4 TB olive oil
– salt

Ingredients for Black Bean Puree:
– 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1 /2 onion
– 2 TB olive oil
– salt and pepper

Ingredients for Green Chile Relish:
– 1 Anaheim chile
– 1 shallot
– 1 garlic clove
– salt and pepper

Other Ingredients:
– 1/2 cup cornmeal
– 1/4 cup canola oil
Braised Kale
– salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Boil 6 cups of water along with the soy sauce, ginger, chiles, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaf.
2.  Slice up the tempeh into 1/4″ pieces cut on the bias.
3.  Drop the tempeh slices into the boiling pot of water and spices.  Turn the heat down and cook for 45 minutes.
4.  Remove the tempeh, but save the broth on the side so that it can cool off and we can use it later.
5.  Put a dash of salt into your pan and heat for about a minute (over medium heat).  Then add 2 TB canola oil.  After this has warmed up for about 30 seconds, you will see that nothing will stick to your pan (GREAT tip Tal Ronnen!!!).
6.  Add your diced onion to the pan and cook for 3 minutes.  Then add the celery, carrots and garlic and cook for about 9 minutes.  Finally, add the 2 ancho chiles, 2 chipotle chiles, 2 cans of tomatoes and their liquid and 1/2 cup vegetable stock.  Simmer for 45 minutes.
7.  Throw out 1 ancho chile and 1 chipotle chile (I removed both ancho chiles and both chipotle chiles because I don’t like things too spicy).  Tal Ronnen says to put the rest of the tomato sauce into a blender, but I just used an immersion blender, which was much easier!  Lastly, melt in the 3 TB of Earth Balance into the smoked tomato sauce.
8.  Heat 2 TB of olive oil in a pan.  Cook 1/2 an onion and 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped) until the onion is transparent.  Pour into the pot the can of black beans (with the liquid included), salt, pepper and cook for 10 minutes.  Ronnen said to put this in a food processor, but I again used my immersion blender and it worked like a charm.
9.  Char your Anaheim chile either over a gas burner on your stove, or by using a broiler in your oven (and turning the chile to char all of the sides).
10.  Peel, remove the seeds, and finely chop the Anaheim chile.  Mix in the finely diced garlic clove, diced shallot and salt and pepper.
11.  Mix in a bowl 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, salt and pepper.
12.  Coat each piece of tempeh in the cormeal mixture.
13.  Use the nonstick pan trick (from step 5), and add the tempeh.  Brown the tempeh on both sides (around 2-3 minutes per side).
14.  Plate this delicious tempeh dish with the black bean puree, smoked tomato sauce, green chile relish and braised kale! Yummmm!!!

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4 Responses to “The Conscious Cook’s Cornmeal Crusted Tempeh with Smoked Tomato Sauce, Green Chile Relish, Black Bean Puree and Braised Kale Recipe & Review”

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