But then came November, December, January, February and nothing happened. There may have been one little storm that left about three inches but was gone the next day. There was lots of rain. There was a day in the 60's. But come March 1st we get dumped on. It snowed for nearly 30 hours straight. Good thing the temperature was high enough to keep some of it from sticking, but we still got some significant snowage. While it has mostly melted in the city, there is still about five inches covering the countryside.
It has been grey out for the last three days and I'm thinking that it may be my last chance to make "warm you from the inside out" food. Something that, in the words of Isa Chandra Moskowitz "gives a warm and flavorful fork you to winter."
March is here Old Man Winter, and I just want you to know that we've now got the upper hand! Your demise is looming just right around the corner.
So here it is, this vegan "Beef" Stew. What's the best thing about it? Well, its hard to say. There's a lot of things that are good about it.
- It's way healthy for you. Little saturated fat, no cholesterol.
- Lots of veggies.
- Lots of protein.
- Tender "meat."
- No tough, terrible strings of animal flesh stuck between your teeth.
- You do not have to simmer Gardein for an hour and a half to make it edible like you would for tough pieces of cow. This means your stew is ready to go in under an hour.
- You don't have to trim fat off of muscle, and then chop it up. Gardein comes ready for the pan. And your hands, knife, cutting board, etc. are not bloody or potentially dangerous.
- My recipe makes a ton.
- Beefless. It's what's for dinner.
And just a note about Worcestershire Sauce. Traditionally it's not vegan. It has anchovies in it. Annie's Naturals makes an organic, vegan version! Yay! It's by the steak sauce in natural foods stores.
2 packages Gardein "Beefless Tips" (Find it in the frozen section)
3 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
2 yellow onions, cut in half and sliced into half moons
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
3 cups potatoes, skins on (better for you!) and cut into 1" pieces
1/2 pound white button mushrooms, quartered
2 teaspoons mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 1/2 teaspoons marjoram (you can sub oregano if you don't have this)
3/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons shoyu (you can use soy sauce)
4 cups water (may be more or less depending)
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Ciabatta or other crusty bread, to serve
Beer, such as Sam Adams Alpine Spring, to serve
Let the Beefless Tips thaw while you chop the veggies. Then heat 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance in a VERY large pot.
Add the Beefless Tips and saute until browned on all sides.
If there is enough oil in the bottom of the pan, add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. If there is not enough, add the remaining tablespoon Earth Balance, and then add the veggies. Saute until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have lost their water. Add the potatoes and stir. Continue to saute until the water/oil at the bottom of the pan has been used up. Add the mustard, paprika, thyme, marjoram, and basil. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Meanwhile whisk together the wine, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce. Add mixture to the pot to deglaze. Scrape the burnt bits from the bottom of the pan and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
Add water to the pot until the vegetables and Gardein are just covered (you want to add enough water that your stew has as much broth as you would like in it). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender.
Once the veggies are all thoroughly cooked, use a liquid measuring cup to remove about 1/2 cup broth. Add the flour to this broth and whisk until evenly incorporated. Return the flour/broth mixture to the pot, and stir. The sauce should thicken. If after thickening, there is not enough broth left, add a bit more water, until desired consistency is achieved. Add the peas and heat through.
Remove stew from heat, stir in chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with warm bread and chilled beer!