Leeky Irish Stew + Skillet Cornbread

Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark.

Here is a recipe that makes it's way into our dinner menu frequently enough I thought I should share. The idea for this recipe struck when I decided it was about time I purchased and tried some leeks. I perused Pinterest for soup recipes and was disappointed that they were all creamy and pureed soups. Not that I dislike that sort of soup (I actually get on kicks where I make some variety at least once a week), I was just looking for something more substantial. I was looking for comfort food, and I was missing things like corned beef and cabbage and ground beef with cabbage (favorite meals while living at home and before becoming vegan).

Cabbage is one of my absolute favorite vegetables, of all time. It's the trace amounts of Irish blood running through my muttley veins. So, I knew that my soup needed cabbage. And potatoes for heartiness. Then, carrots for color, because I believe in colorful food. So this is what I came up with. It's pretty simple, pretty delicious, and will feed an army. In fact, if you don't like having leftover soup to eat for days I would consider halving the recipe.

Soup Ingredients:
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 leeks, thinly sliced pale parts
3 tablespoons of olive oil
3 medium potatoes, cut to your size preference with or without skins
1/2 head of cabbage, cut
1 large carrot, sliced rounds
8 cups vegetable stock
4 cups water
Sprig of thyme
Bay leaf
Salt and pepper

1. Add olive oil, sliced leeks, and garlic to a 5 qt or larger pot and heat on medium high heat until softened and fragrant.
2. Toss in the potatoes, carrots, bay leaf and thyme and cover with all 8 cups of stock. Cook on med-high heat for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
3. Once the potatoes are tender add the cabbage and 4 cups of water, stir well to combine, and let cook another 5-10 minutes.
4. Salt and pepper to taste.

Photo courtesy of Photography by David L. Clark.

The cornbread is the second vegan cornbread recipe I have tried and it will definitely be my go to for easy and scrumptious dinner bread in a pinch. The recipe is from Veganomicon, and mostly unmodified (save my flavor additions).
Makes 8 big slices, that you'll devour whether you're still hungry or not, at least that's what I did.

Cornbread Ingredients:
2 cups plain soy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (okay, here I used 1/8 cup agave nectar because my sugar canister is near empty)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly oil the bottom and sides of cast iron pan (you can make this in a 9"x13" baking pan if you don't have an oven safe skillet). Preheat the oven with the pan inside.
2. Combine soy milk and vinegar in a measuring cup/small bowl and set aside to curdle while you prepare everything else. This is a vegan substitute for buttermilk.
3. In a large mixing bowl sift or mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create a well in the center and add the soy milk mixture and oil. Use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined, lumps are okay. This may seem a little liquid-y for a bread batter, but it's a moist bread so it's okay.
4. Pour the batter into the heated skillet and bake for about 30 minutes, until inserted fork/knife/toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool a bit before slicing and serving.

My variation was to add one clove of finely minced garlic and a pinch of finely chopped fresh thyme (still trying to use it up from Thanksgiving). It gave a very subtle amount of flavor to the bread.

When corn is in season, I'll sauté some of that to throw in!

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