On Weds., I asked my husband what kind of soup or stew he wants Friday. I always make a soup or stew on Friday nights in the winter so that he can take leftovers in his thermos on Saturday for ski patrol. He replied that he wanted a stew. I asked, “like a chunky vegetable stew?”. He said, “more like a beef stew”. Well the gauntlet had been thrown. We’d never made a vegetarian “beef” stew that we liked much. The existing recipes we tried were always bland or just plain eww. I knew I could do better. And I did. This stew was spectacular! It smelled spectacular and tasted great… and looks scarily a little too much like beef stew.
The first part of getting this right, was getting the seitan right. I made the seitan the day before because it takes a while. To get the texture just right, I boiled it and then baked it. The seitan recipe is below.
This seitan stew recipe is adapted from an Emeril beef stew recipe.
‘Beefy’ Seitan Stew
1 recipe Seitan – beef style (recipe below – make a day ahead of time)
~3 tablespoons olive oil
Spice mixture ->
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1/8 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
2 tablespoons earth balance
8 oz cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 large roughly chopped yellow onion
2-3 sliced carrots, (1-inch slices cut crosswise on a diagonal)
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
3 cloves roughly chopped garlic
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups beef style vegetarian stock or vegetable stock, at room temperature**
1 cup red wine
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3 to 4 cups 1-inch dice peeled yukon gold or red potatoes
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Chop the seitan into bite size pieces and season the seitan by sprinkling with the spice mixture, being sure to toss the seitan well to evenly cover with the spices. Set a non-stick skillet or non-stick dutch oven oven (preferred) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pot. Add the seitan to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. Remove the seitan from the pot and set aside.
If you used a skillet above for the seitan, nows the time to pull out the big pot for the stew and heat it up. Add the margarine and 1 Tbsp oilve oil and mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until onions are softened and lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the stock, tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, allspice and browned seitan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes.
Add the potatoes to the stew and partially cover the pot with a lid. Continue cooking until the potatoes are very tender, about 45 minutes (to an hour). Remove the lid and discard the thyme and rosemary stems. Add the peas and parsley to the stew, stir well to combine, then remove from the heat. Serve hot with steamed rice.
** I used Edward and Sons Not-Beef boullion cubes dissolved in boiling water. This brand is so good that I buy 3-4 boxes at a time off the internet. For the stock for the stew – 2 Not-Beef boullion cubes to 4 1/2 cups boiling water.
Adapted from The Vegan Lunchbox Pot Roast and La Dolce Vegan Beefy Seitan
2 vegetarian beef-flavored boullion cubes (See note above**)
1 tsp kosher salt – I cannot remember if I actually added this
1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup finely ground walnuts
2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp sage
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp marmite
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp vegan worchestershire
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Bring 4 cups water to a boil. Stir in the boullion cubes and 1 tsp kosher salt. Let cubes dissolve while you work on the seitan.
In a mixing bowl, mix wheat gluten, ground walnuts, nutritional yeast, onion powder, sage, and garlic powder.
Then mix ONE cup of the broth with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp tomato paste, vegan worchestershire, and marmite.
Add the liquid to the wheat gluten mixture and stir till it forms a dough. Knead until it comes together in a loaf. Cut the loaf into 2″ square pieces.
Stir the other tablespoon nutritional yeast into the remaining broth. Add the gluten to this lukewarm broth and bring up to a simmer. Simmer the wheat gluten covered in the remaining broth (just barely a simmer) for 1 hour. This next part is important. Turn off the heat and let the seitan cool in its cooking liquid for 30-45 minutes.
Drain the seitan (reserve the remaining stock) and put it into a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30 min (this will cause it to firm up). Remove from the pan and place the seitan in a storage container with remaining broth until ready to use.
Here are some in progress pics: