We’ve long enjoyed what I call “Provençal-style” concoctions, aromatic medleys in which I like to stew fish (generally salmon or catfish). This recipe is very similar to ones I’ve used before but with a few differences. I’ve adapted it from a recipe in our local paper that was itself an adaptation of a recipe in the Vegan Under Pressure cookbook. I’ve cooked it not in a pressure cooker but on the stovetop in a large sauté pan with a very tight-fitting lid.
You’ll need two large red, yellow, or orange bell peppers; 1/2 of a large sweet onion (Vidalia or Spanish); 3 cloves of garlic; 1 pound of firm or extra firm tofu; 1/2 cup pitted black olives; not shown: 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves (fresh or dried); 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves; 2 bay leaves (optional); 3 tablespoons red wine (or 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar); 1/2 cup vegetable or mushroom broth; 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (1 15-ounce can works perfectly); 3 tablespoons chopped parsley and/or basil leaves; 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika; olive oil.
First, remove the tofu from the package to drain. (I set the tofu on a cookie cooling rack that was nestled in a flat pan.)
Next, wash, core, and quarter the peppers, then slice thinly into 2-inch slices.
Set the pepper slices aside in a large bowl. (They look gorgeous, don’t they?!)
Cut a large onion in half, then thinly slice and dice.
In a large sauté pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, pour in the peppers and onions.
While this is cooking (about 3 minutes), crush the garlic and put all the dried herbs in a small bowl, ready to pour into the pan.
Add the herbs to the pepper-onion mixture. Cut the tofu into cubes, about 1/2 inch in size.
Add to the pan, along with 3 tablespoons of red wine. (I used a Virginia merlot from Sunset Hills Vineyards.)
Pour the vegetable (or mushroom) broth into the pan, then add the tomatoes. (I used fire-roasted chopped tomatoes.) Do not stir!
Fit the cover onto the pan and let cook for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, then add the 1/2 cup chopped olives (I used a mixture of kalamata and Niçoise olives), the parsley and/or basil flakes (I used 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1 tablespoon of basil), the 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently, then put the lid back on and cook for about 2 to 3 more minutes over very low heat. And then it’s done!
Remove the bay leaves (if used). Serve this over rice (either basmati or brown rice are great) or pasta. We served it as a side dish to parmesan-crusted boneless chicken breasts and it worked very well.
Now, conventional wisdom would say to serve this with a red wine. After all, red wine is one of the ingredients. And it includes tomatoes and chicken. But we served it with a kissed-by-oak Chardonnay from King Family that had lovely, light caramel notes. Absolutely ideal wine-food pairing!