Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vegetable Risotto Cakes

Sometimes on Saturdays I like to go to the grocery store without a plan (or a list) and just wander the aisles choosing  my ingredients as I go. I find this a very relaxing and usually the result of  these trips are my best meals.  Things always seem to somehow materialize while I am in the store and by the time I get to the checkout I am excited to get home and start cooking.

Yesterday was one of those days. I spent close to two hours at the local Wegman's (which is absolutely a vegan's paradise).  I walked the aisles choosing my ingredients. I guess the recipe I recently read online at Cmac's Kitchen for Vegan risotto cakes was still in the back of my mind as I came home with the makings of my own risotto cake.

This dish can be easily modified to accommodate whatever veggies you have on hand.  While it is time intensive, it is not terribly difficult and the end result is a hearty dinner that, paired with a salad (I did a spinach and roasted beet salad), will fill even a hard core meat lover's belly (yes, Mr. Meat and Potatoes loved it too)!

Vegetable Risotto Cakes

2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread
2 tbsp olive oil
7 cups vegetable stock
2 cups aborio rice
1 leek, minced (white part only)
3 asparagus stalks, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, minced
10 cremini mushrooms, minced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 cup white wine
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup white corn meal
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or other relatively large pot heat olive oil and Earth Balance over medium heat and add the leeks and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until translucent. Add the asparagus, peppers and mushrooms and saute for another few minutes until vegetables are tender.  Add the uncooked rice and cook for a few more minutes, until the rice turns somewhat translucent.  Add the paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to coat.  Add the cup of white wine and stir until the rice has absorbed all of the wine.  Start adding the vegetable stock one cup at a time stirring constantly. After each cup of stock is absorbed by the rice add the next until you have added all seven cups.* Remove from the heat. Add nutritional yeast and stir to incorporate.  Set mixture aside to cool.

When mixture is cool enough to handle place some white cornmeal on a cutting board or other flat surface.  To mold the cakes place some corn meal in the bottom of a round vessel (I used a ramekin) and add large handful (about a cup) of the rice mixture pressing it into the vessel.  Run a butter knife gently around the sides of the ramekin and turn upside down and bang gently on the cutting board with the corn meal.  Coat the cake with cornmeal on all sides. Repeat until all mixture is gone- this should make about eight cakes.

Heat corn oil over medium. Add the cakes and allow them to cook until golden brown on all sides and warmed through.

*Note: if you do not want to use wine you can substitute an extra cup of vegetable stock. I do think the wine gives it a nice flavor, though.

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