Ethiopian So-What? Stew

What started as a recipe for Ethiopian Wat (a stew) ended up something more my Midwestern mother would call a hotdish. Basically, I had to adapt the recipe from Robin Robertson's Vegan Fire & Spice to fit ingredients I had on hand. But so wat? In the end, it was warm and filling on an autumn night, and the addition of mushrooms felt a nod to my own Pacific Northwest.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
about 8 ounces (more or less) of Roasted Seitan, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
one 14.5-ounce can of chopped tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried mixed mushrooms
mashed potatoes

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the seitan and cook another 5 minutes or so. Add the spices and tomatoes; mix well. Stir in the vegetable stock and dried mushrooms. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve over mashed potatoes.

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