Monday, 28 May 2012

Vegetarian Tofu Shepherd's Pie

This tastes better than it sounds, in fact it tastes pretty good, but not quite as good as meat. Vegetarians will never succeed in replacing meat, merely going without it. I often say they should stop trying, but then I go and make something like this that puts tongue firmly in cheek. For you edibles counters out there, it is my lowest calorie shepherd's pie to date, though not by much, coming in at 275 calories per serving (3" square).

The method is pretty much the same as my meaty shepherd's pies found here and here, but I'll explain it again because there are some extra steps. First, saute some onions until they soften and begin to caramelize. Crumble up two packages of weight strained extra firm tofu.

*****Skip this next paragraph to avoid information and inflammatory opinions regarding the nature of tofu and those who eat it.*****

Tofu comes with flavourless water trapped inside, water we want to replace with something that tastes good. Tofu doesn't taste good on its own, so some effort must be spent to inject something, anything, that won't make you spit it out cursing vegans and their poorly conceived notions of what constitutes food. I should also note that this recipe would be vegan but for butter. Barbecuing un-marinated tofu and feeding it to people should be punishable by law, perhaps to the extent of a forced stay at one of Harper's super prisons. Hint, they're not super for their food choices. Their vegetarian menu is guaranteed to be more punishment than the company. I've digressed too far.

Tofu and onions in a saute pan. Brown it up, may take an hour
What the above paragraph was supposed to say is that you have to squeeze out the water from the tofu. Do this by putting some paper towel on a plate, topping with tofu blocks, then with more paper towel and something heavy. I used a pot full of potatoes, this worked. In the past I have used a book on modern art that weighs more than most dogs. Leave it sit there for about 15-20 minutes. Then crumple and try to caramelize it in the pan with olive oil. This took me about an hour. You will have to stir it regularly, and scrape it off the bottom. Here is where we add our flavour to it, mostly in the form of soy sauce, but also with 3 cloves of garlic. I used a couple dashes of hot sauce for depth of flavour, but I couldn't really taste it in the end. Maybe it did something, maybe not. Don't dump all the soy sauce in at once because you'll end up with a sticky mess at the bottom of the pan that is more likely to burn than do anything at all pleasant.

When you start to see some darker bits of tofu, add the carrot. It takes a longer time to cook. Keep on keeping on with the tofu until there are a lot of darker bits and the carrots are toothsome. Adjust the seasoning, add frozen peas and corn stripped from the cob, even getting the leftovers by scraping the cob with the back of your knife. That is good corn flavour, don't waste it. Add 2 Tbsp of flour and mix until you can't see it anymore. Add a cup of onion broth and coat evenly on the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

This photo was not taken with instagram, I'm just bad at cameras. 
Mash the boiled potatoes and yam in butter, sliced garlic, and remaining onion broth until desired consistency. I like a few lumps. It reminds me that I'm eating things that came out of the ground instead of from a box. Top the tofu mixture with the mashed potatoes and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Serve with a salad to vegetarian friends you wouldn't normally invite over because they don't eat people food.


1 comment:

Eleanor Gang said...

Ha ha ha! Sam, you’re hilarious. Your tofu shepherd’s pie was delicious, and there’s no need to be apologetic. So there. Nayh!