Vegetarian Thanksgiving

November 15, 2012

Vegetarianism is no longer a trend in America, but a way of life for a growing percentage of the population. Kendall College School of Culinary Arts trains future chefs to use passion and ingenuity in cooking for the range of vegetarian lifestyles enjoyed by Americans—from "flexitarians" (those who eat meat only occasionally) to lifelong vegans. Kendall College chef and registered dietitian, Eric Stein shares recipes for some vegetarian Thanksgiving Day dishes, for those looking to lose the meat this Thanksgiving, without sacrificing flavor and protein.

Black Lentil and Portobello Beggar's Purse with Vegan Demi Glace

Yield: 8 Large Purses

5 Cups Water
1 Cup Black Lentils
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Cup Yellow Onion, Small Dice
1/2 Cup Carrots, Peeled, Small Dice
1/2 Cup Celery, Small Dice
2 teaspoons Fresh Garlic, Minced
5 Cups Portabello Mushrooms, Medium Dice
5 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2/3 Cup Red Wine
1/2 Cup Brandy
5 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
2 teaspoons Soy Sauce
3 Cups Arugula
1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme, Minced
1 teaspoon Fresh Tarragon, Minced
16 Sheets Phyllo Dough
As Needed Canola Oil
As Needed Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Method of Preparation:

To Make The Filling and Sauce:

1. Combine water and lentils in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until tender. Strain lentils and cool completely.

2. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook 6-8 minutes or until they begin to caramelize. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 6 minutes or until they caramelize.

3. Add the garlic and briefly cook until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 6-8 minutes stirring regularly. Make sure they don't scorch. At this point the vegetable mixture will be very dry.

4. Stir the tomato paste into the pan and coat all the vegetables.

5. Deglaze the pan with red wine and brandy and cook until the mixture is dry once again.

6. Add the vegetable stock, vinegar, and soy sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer sauce until the liquid is reduced by half.

7. Strain vegetables reserving both the mushroom mixture and the liquid. The liquid will be reheated as the sauce for the beggars purses.

8. Combine the mushroom mixture with the cooked lentils. Stir in the arugula, thyme, and tarragon. They arugula should wilt slightly. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

To Assemble The Purses:

1. Heat the oven to 375 F.
2. Cut each phyllo dough sheet in half to form a total of 32 squares.
3. Cover the phyllo with plastic wrap and a damp towel while working.
4. Place one sheet of phyllo on your work surface. Brush a little oil all over the sheet, especially the edges of the phyllo.
5. Place a second on top in the opposite direction to make a cross. Brush oil on top of the second sheet as before.
6. Place two more sheets in an X pattern on top of the previous cross pattern. Brush each sheet with oil before placing the next sheet on top. You will now have a stack of four squares.
7. In the middle of the top sheet of phyllo, place one quarter of the cooled filling.
8. Pull all the sides up toward the center to make a purse and crimp together.
9. Brush the outside of each purse with oil and season with salt and pepper.
10. Continue the same procedure to make a total of 8 purses.
11. Lightly brush a muffin pan with vegetable oil.
12. Bake purses for 15 to 20 minutes or until phyllo become a light golden brown.
13. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Braised Beets and Red Cabbage

Yield: 10 Servings

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Each Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
3 Each Red Beets
2 Each Ancho Chiles, Seeds Removed, Roughly Chopped
1 Each Red Cabbage, Very Thinly Sliced
1 ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 Cups Pomegranate Juice
2 Each Bay Leaves
1/2 Cup Brown Sugarv 1 teaspoon Fresh Thyme

1. Peel and cut the beets into a small dice (about ¼ inch in size).
2. In a large pot over moderate heat, sauté onion, diced beets and chile ancho in olive oil until the start to get tender (about 10 minutes).
3. Add cabbage and continue to sauté over moderate heat for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the cabbage is tender (about 45 minutes).
5. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme.

Baked Polenta with Goat Cheese

Yield: 6-8 servings

6 Cups Whole Milk
2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Cups Fine yellow cornmeal
3 Each Large Eggs
3 Each Large Egg Whites
1 Cup Goat Cheese, Crumbled

Method of Preparation:

1. Combine the milk and salt in a large pot over high heat. Whish in the cornmeal.
2. Slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Once the mixture begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the polenta is no longer gritty, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping down the sides of the pot, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover loosely and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 2 quart casserole dish.
6. Meanwhile, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and place yolks into separate bowls.
7. Whisk the yolks well into the goat cheese, then mix into the cooled polenta.
8. Using an electric mixer, beat the whites until stiff peaks form.
9. Gently fold the whites into the polenta in three separate batches. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake until golden brown on top and slightly puffed, about 40 minutes.
10. Serve immediately.

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