Odd, I know, to cook up a batch of stew for Labor Day weekend. There will be plenty of time in the months ahead for that. No need to rush things, right?
But it’s the kind of holiday weekend here that’s cloudy and rainy with rumbles of thunder on-and-off, and I’ve had a craving for beef stew for the past week (which is a bit of an issue when you’re a vegetarian), and I didn’t get to the farmer’s market this week for any fresh veggies, and we’ll be traveling next Sunday when I usually make a pot of soup in honor of The Opening Day of Regular Football Season (also known as The Official Start of Fall) … and so, beef stew for dinner it is.
The vegetarian version, that is.
I’ve recently discovered the gardein brand of foods and these are now my preferred go-to substitute meat products. The Husband and I are the sort of vegetarians that, even after 15 years of this, we still miss certain foods. Gardein is pretty damn authentic. (They’re not paying me to say any of this, by the way. I’m just a happy customer.)
I made the homestyle beefless tips over rice with green beans and soy sauce the other night, and that was a big hit in this house. I think that’s what sparked the beef stew craving, because that opened up whole door of possibilities.
I found this recipe for Beefless Stew on the gardein website, and that’s what I made for dinner.
1 package gardein beefless tips
3 tbsp vegetable oil
10 oz pearl onions, peeled (I used regular chopped, as I didn’t have pearl onions)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (omitted, as I hate celery)
2 medium carrots, ½ inch diced (I just threw in handful or two of baby carrots)
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried rosemary (didn’t use; The Husband dislikes)
3 tbsp flour
3 cups vegan “beef” broth
(try better than bouillon brand) or roasted vegetable stock (I used Better Than Boullion)
1 cup dry red wine such as cabernet sauvignon (omitted … but then I remembered I had some leftover merlot and wondered if that would have worked)
2 medium potatoes, ½ inch diced (I used a bit more, as I had some new potatoes to use up from a previous farmer’s market visit)
to taste salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat, add beefless tips and brown on all sides. Remove from saucepan and set aside. Add pearl onions, garlic and celery to saucepan and cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots, thyme, and rosemary and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Sprinkle in flour, then slowly add broth and wine while stirring.Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.Add beefless tips back in and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
The Husband and I really liked this. The stew was incredibly thick and filling, just like any regular beef stew would be. The kids originally said they liked it, but Betty changed her mind after several spoonfuls. Boo gave it 3.5 stars out of 4. Not sure why the .5 point was deducted, but I’ll take it.
This goes on the roster of soups/stews that will be making an appearance at our table this fall and winter.
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads and is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs.