WWhenever I’m looking for a new dish, whether it’s for restaurants or for our Gauthier at Home boxes, I always try to find something that is as familiar as possible, but without the animal products. The trick, I find, is to replace it with something that gives the same satisfaction of protein and umami as meat. These two dishes are examples. Neither is meant to be super-authentic, but rather a light take on the original with a suspicion of added Frenchness, because, well, I’m French.
Briouats (photo above)
These crispy little North African plots look a bit like samosas and make a perfect starter or side dish; they provide a particularly pleasant crunch when served with a stew.
Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 35 minutes
Serves 4 (i.e. 2 per person)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large potato (300g), peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped as finely as possible
1 tablespoon of grilled harissa paste – The Cap Bon Lighthouse in Tunisia is my favorite
30g vegan cream cheese – I appreciate Isle of Bute cheese
30g vegan parmesan – I use Green life Parveggio
2 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
1 handful of chives, finely chopped
1 handful of parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pack of 250g brick sheets, Middle Eastern food stores and some supermarkets, or filo pastry
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a sautÃ© pan, add the spinach and sweat, stirring until softened. Remove from heat, let cool, then finely chop and place in a medium bowl.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add the potato, boil for about 10 minutes, until cooked through, then drain.
While the potato is cooking, place the tomatoes in a medium bowl with the harissa and toss with a fork until combined.
Place the drained potato in the bowl with the chopped spinach, add the cream cheese, Parmesan and finely chopped scallion, and mash to combine. Stir in the chives and parsley and season to taste.
Take a pastry sheet (cover the rest so that it does not dry out) and cut it lengthwise into four strips about 7Â½ cm wide x 20 cm long. Put a dessert spoonful of the filling mixture on one end of a strip (be careful not to put too much and overfill the dough or it will burst), then fold the bottom corner up and over the filling, to make a triangle. Repeat on the other side, then continue zigzagging the length of the dough, to completely cover and seal in a neat triangular wrap. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling, to make eight triangular plots in total.
Heat the remaining three tablespoons of oil in a skillet, then fry the packages, in batches if needed, for about three minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp all over. Drain on a tea towel and serve hot with the tomato and harissa mixture for soaking.
Persian chickpea stew
I have recently been struck by the simplicity and intense freshness of the flavors of Persian cuisine. It’s my point of view khoresh gheYeah, a very popular chickpea stew in Iran. It’s a bit ’70s and retro, but I don’t care: the way the coconut milk compensates for the spices and delivers the chickpeas is sensational, while the freshness of the chopped tomato at the end, combined with the nuts, coconut and cilantro, is a real pleasure for the audience.
Preperation 15 minutes
to cook 1 hour
100 ml olive oil
2 large onions, peeled and very finely chopped
Â½ teaspoon Turmeric
Â½ teaspoon ground cumin
Â½ teaspoon of soil coriander
Â½ teaspoon ground ginger
Â½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 cans of 400 ml coconut milk
200 ml of vegetable broth
1 large potato (300g), peeled and diced
175g of rutabaga, peeled and diced
1 can of 400 g of chickpeas cooked in water
50g of raisins
1 large pinch of saffron threads
Salt and black pepper
1 good beef tomato (400g)
50g toasted flaked almonds
100g grated coconut
1 large handle fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, then add the onions, and sweat very slowly, stirring regularly, for about 25 minutes, until translucent and caramelized, like hot dog onions; be careful not to take them too far and burn them, however. Stir in all the spices except the saffron and cook over very low heat for another 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth, bring to a boil, then add the potato, rutabaga, chickpeas and their water (the starchy aquafaba will help give the stew a welcome silkiness), raisins and saffron, season and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Peel and seed the tomato (cut a small cross in the bottom, then blanch it in boiling water for about five seconds, the skin should come off easily), then cut the flesh into small cubes. Taste the stew, adjust the seasoning to taste, then pour into a serving bowl and pour the diced fresh tomato on top. Sprinkle with almonds, grated coconut and fresh cilantro, and enjoy as is, or with plain rice or couscous.