janet @ the taste space

Brazilian Black Bean and Seitan Stew & Afro Vegan Review+Giveaway

In Book Review, Mains (Vegetarian) on July 1, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Brazilian Black Bean Soup Afrovegan

You know Rob is a keeper when he doesn’t kill you when it is time to pack. And a) you have essentially doubled your cookbook collection while in Houston (although I limited myself to 10 books for my move) and Rob is now packing your heavy books; b) while you should be packing, instead you are cooking the last of the bits in the refrigerator, so I am still net loss worth for packing. And then there’s c) please don’t pack my cookbooks I still want to review!  Eventually I had to give in…. and help pack. And thankful that most books I receive to review come in electronic form.

Especially after making my own e-cookbook, I have grown to appreciate digital books. They have their pros and cons. They are easier to search, but not as fun to read. I miss the ability to curl the pages and find new random recipes. Although they are definitely easier to move. They also allow me to write posts in the airport.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup

Afro Vegan is Terry Bryant’s new cookbook. A lover of good food, he has managed to fuse soul comfort food with gourmet twists. His muses vary from Caribbean soul cuisine, Southern US down home cooking and African menus. Pecan cornbread with dukkah? Sweet plantain and Fresh Corn Cakes? Peanut Pumpkin Fritters? Jamaican Patties Stuffed with Maque Choux? Spinach Peanut Sauce? Trust me, it all sounded good to me, I was sad I haven’t had enough time to explore it.

Brazilian Black Bean Soup Afrovegan

While a bit more complex than my weeknight meals, there are more simple and more elaborate dishes. Delicious and innovative all-round. I loved, loved, loved my version of his Southern black eyed peas, I shared it before the book was even released to the masses. Now I am sharing another great soup, which I simplified by skipping the dumplings. This black bean stew, inspired by the Brazilian feijoada, is more tomato-heavy than my previous versions, but still nice and hearty and simple enough for an easy meal.

Afro-Vegan book cover

Thankfully, the publisher is letting me share the recipe AND give a cookbook to one reader living anywhere (except maybe the moon). To be entered, please leave a comment here, any comment. I will randomly select a winner on July 30, 2014. Good luck!

Recipes from Afro-Vegan shared elsewhere:

Hominy and Spinach in Tomato-Garlic Broth

All-Green Spring Slaw

Glazed Carrot Salad

Tofu Curry with Mustard Greens

Summer vegetable and tofu kebabs with pomegranate-peach barbecue sauce

Savory Grits with Slow-Cooked Collard Greens

Stewed Tomatoes with Black Eyed Peas with Cornbread Croutons

Texas caviar on grilled rustic bread

Creole-Spiced Plantain Chips

Za’atar Roasted Red Potatoes

Smashed Potatoes, Peas and Corn with Chile-Garlic Oil

Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas with Spring Herbs

Creamed Cashews

Skillet Cornbread with Pecan Dukkah

Ambrosia Ice Pops

Cocoa-spice cake with crystallized ginger and coconut-chocolate ganache


Black Bean and Seitan Stew
Reprinted, with permission, from Afro-Vegan

Bryant says: Brazil has the most people of African descent outside of the African continent itself, and African culture continues to thrive in the country’s music, religion, and food. This stew is inspired by feijoada, which is considered the national dish of Brazil. My version pays homage to the close to 4 million enslaved Africans brought to Brazil by the Portuguese between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. While some argue that feijoada is a modified version of a slow-cooked casserole from Portugal containing beans and meat, legend has it that feijoada was created by enslaved Africans, who used the rice and bean rations that they were given as a base and augmented them with discarded parts of pigs (ears, feet, snouts, and innards) to add more heft. This meatless version gives a healthy nod to that rich history.

I don’t cook with seitan often, but I use it here to provide the heartiness feijoada typically gets from beef and pork. If you are sensitive to or intolerant of wheat or gluten, you can substitute panfried tempeh for the seitan. Serve with white or brown rice, Muscovado‑Roasted Plantains (page 62), Collards and Cabbage with Lots of Garlic (page 78), and Citrus Salad with Arugula (page 71).

1.5 cups black beans, sorted and soaked in water overnight
6.5 cups vegetable stock, homemade (page 42) or store-bought
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
8 ounces seitan, cut into 1⁄2-inch‑thick medallions (I used this)
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup finely diced green bell pepper
1 scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries, toasted (see sidebar, page 9) and ground
1.5 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 tablespoons minced cilantro
Salty Lemon Cream with Parsley (page 146), for serving

1. Get the beans started by draining them, rinsing them well, and draining them again. Put the beans, stock, and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally.

2. Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown and quite soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in the bell pepper, scallions, tomato sauce, tomato paste, allspice, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is soft, 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Stir the vegetable mixture into the beans and continue cooking the beans.

5. After the beans have been cooking for 1 hour, season with salt and black pepper to taste, and cook the stew, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes more, until the beans are just tender. If necessary, add a little stock or water if the stew is too thick.

6. Combine the cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper in a small bowl and stir with a fork. Put the vinegar in a separate small bowl. One at a time, dip the seitan medallions into the vinegar, then roll them in the cornmeal mixture until evenly coated. Set the coated pieces on a plate.

7. Line a plate with paper towels. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the seitan and fry until golden brown and crispy, 1 to 11/2 minutes on each side. Transfer to the lined plate to drain.

Serve with 4 to 5 pieces of seitan on top, garnished with the cilantro with the lemon cream alongside.

Reprinted with permission from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry, copyright (c) 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2014 by Paige Green

  1. Oh, I adore Bryant Terry! I’m so eager to get my hands on his new book. :)

  2. My God Janet, another giveaway !!! WOW !!! You’re just amazing and so generous. Thanks and I really appreciate that. That kind of cookbook would be nice to have in my collection because I’m not quite familiar with this kind of cuisine :) Your soup just sounds wonderful and yummm !!!

    Have a good packing time :)

  3. This cookbook is immediately on my wishlist! I have nothing like it and it’s so much fun to expand the types of meals I serve, which frankly I haven’t done in a while.
    I hope moving is as stress-free as possible even though it’s always a nightmare to some extent.

  4. Loving all of your awesome giveaways lately! I’ve had my eye on this cookbook for a while so I’d love to win :)

  5. That cookbook looks delicious! I’ve bought caribbean cookbooks before, but I’ve never been able to find a vegetarian/vegan one, so they’ve been of limited use. This one would be pretty great. Also, as a southern hemisphere girl, it’s always lovely to see a giveaway that isn’t just US/Canada :)

  6. Funnily enough, I’ve been starting to explore African and Caribbean cookery lately, so this book would be ideal as everything’s veganised already! Best of luck with your move- doesn’t seem long since you were writing about just having arrived in Houston… hope it all goes as smoothly as possible:)

  7. Okay – I have never heard of seitan before, and I’m sure there’s a jar of black beans at the back of the cupboard, and this looks so delicious. I’ll find the beans, google seitan (and probably find an alternative) and give this a go. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. Great idea! Can’t wait to give this one a try!

  9. Wow, what a unique cookbook! Sounds amazing- I would love to win!

  10. Hi Janet! Natalie here from Pinch of Flavor :) I’m definitely going to buy this cookbook (if I don’t win the giveaway that is!) Good luck moving and here’s to the amazing men in our lives who help us pack and taste our food!

  11. Oh my word, this book sounds awesome! Will def be checking it out and of course, I would love to win. ;)

  12. This recipe looks delicious! I would love to try some of these recipes. I hope I win the book!

  13. I’m not sure I need anymore cookbooks… but this sounds SO GOOD!!! Mmm especially the recipe you shared.

  14. I don’t have this cookbook yet! I’d love to add it to my collection~

  15. I would love this cookbook! This recipe looks delicious, and I’m sure the rest of the book is full of other delicious foods!

  16. i certainly dont need more cook books. but who said anything about need?? tofu and collards..that looks really interesting.. ijust love all the different choices!

  17. this is the cookbook i have been putting off buying because i really don’t need anymore cookbooks but want to make everything in it! i would love this one.

  18. That soup looks delicious and I would love to win the book!

  19. Thanks, that sounds good, and I liked your last recipe too, so please enter me in the draw. :)

  20. That book looks neat! Would love a copy.

  21. You sound like you are blogging and cooking right down to the wire – I am imagining you at the airport with a laptop on your lap and a little tub of leftover beans – sounds worth taking on holidays – enjoy them

  22. Hmm.. this seems to be an interesting cookbook

  23. I have very little experience cooking Caribbean, African or southern foods, so having a cookbook that focuses exclusively on those cuisines would be wonderful! It would be a great addition to my cookbook collection. Thanks!!

  24. I would love to have a copy of this book. Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. Our new London region has lots of Caribbean food places, but sadly few vegan Caribbean ones. This book highlights it is possible!

    Good luck for your move back Janet :)

  26. This sounds right up my alley as far as the foods I’ve been cooking lately. Different enough from the typical that it interests the taste buds but familiar enough to feel soothing and comforting.

  27. I have Vegan Soul Kitchen and The Inspired Vegan, and I would love to add Afro-Vegan to my collection.

  28. Packing will get you every time. Amazing you have time to cook.

  29. Looks delicious! Would love to try this!

  30. There are some really yummy and different recipes here! Creamed cashews! I’d love to try it!

  31. The grits and greens from this book is one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.

  32. I have a similar cookbook problem…but would love to win a copy of this book!

  33. My omni-African family that used to side eye vegan food fell in love with the grits and greens. It’s delicious and reminds me of home. Thanks for doing this giveaway!

  34. I read many good things about his books and I would love to win one.

  35. I loved his first cookbook! Can’t wait to cook from this one.

  36. Always need the soul in your cooking

  37. Pick me! Pick me!

  38. This stew looks fabulous–heart and delicious. I have his first cookbook and this one is definitely on my list. ;-)
    Thanks for sharing with Souper Sundays this week.

  39. I just got back from Toronto’s Afrofest and am happy to finally read this post :) There was even a vegan vendor there…. yum channa roti! :)

  40. This book looks great! I have his first book and really enjoy it. (I also have a cookbook problem. I have tried buying them in Kindle form, but I find I just don’t cook from them as much as I do from hard copies. )

  41. This looks amazing! I am getting back into ‘collecting’ cookbooks. My computer is exploding with recipes but I seem to go back to the good old hard copies. :]

  42. I’d love to win. I never cook that kind of food, so could really use a cookbook.

  43. The tofu curry with mustard greens sounds great. I’d love to make that :)

  44. I’ve got this book on my (long) wishlist. There are a lot of good recipes for greens!

  45. Oh, this looks all so good! And you know what? I spend a lot of time reading vegetalian sites, and some are truly inspiring, but in the end, nothing compares to the pleasure of leafing through paper books (shows my age?). So I would really like to add this one to my collection. But rest assure that I will not wait to try the recipies

  46. I love Bryant Terry – this one is at the top of my wish list!

  47. Thanks for this awesome giveaway!!! I’d love to win this cookbook.

  48. Would love to win this wonderful cookbook since we’re transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. I need help finding new favorites to replace recipes we won’t be making any longer. Thanks for the chance to expand our culinary adventures!

  49. Cooking is the perfect antidote to the stress of moving…I hope all is going well for you! This stew looks crazydelicious, maybe even cold with a thick chunk of bread or thick homemade tortilla chips. Many thanks! :)

  50. It just so happens I have been craving black beans. Sounds and looks wonderful. I never can get enough of your recipes.

  51. Just got done making this. Used tempeh (had some left over). Added 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter and some jerk seasoning (I guess the jerk makes it more Afro-Caribbean)—think these two added more depth to it. Thanks for posting.

  52. Oh, I would love to see if that book contains recipes for the dishes I loved when I was living in the Caribbean… It would be fantastic to be able to make them at home, and to bring back all the delicious memories from my time in Grenada! Thank you, Janet, for offering us a chance at winning a copy of this book.

  53. This would make an interesting addition to my repertoire! Looks really tasty :)

  54. I love trying foods from different cultures and the images you provided look delicious.

  55. […] to show you exactly what we were cooking down to the wire, this was a delicious concoction we threw together with fridge remnants the day we moved. Rob and I […]

  56. I made this stew last night. It is not technically difficult but it does take some time and if I make it again, I will know how to be more efficient at it. My wife and I really liked the taste. The kids were neutral and in further questioning, both claimed not to be big fans of black beans. It is interesting when I find these things out because they have both eaten black beans many times in their lives. Both go to Chipotle and get them there. But both are teens. My wife states they have been down on chilies and stews lately. But who cares. They ate it and I liked it a lot.

    The seitan did not come off for me. I bought the wrong kind so couldn’t batter it well. I just stir fried it and served it. I also had red chard with it. So my wife and I loved the meal. I made this because I wanted to do something interesting with black beans. A lot of recipes we try aren’t very tasty. This one has a good seasoned taste.

  57. I love Bryant Terry’s books! I have Vegan Soul Kitchen and also Inspired Vegan. Several of the recipes from VSK are on heavy rotation in my house. I had no idea he came out with another book and from this write-up it sounds just as good as the two I already have. Will definitely have to buy this one. Thanks for the heads up!

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