Beefless stew! This recipe reminds me of Sunday nights. Of dinners at my grandmother’s house where she would often serve a roast alongside carrots, potatoes, onions and celery.
Even as a kid, I didn’t care too much about the meat centerpiece but loved all of the yummy cooked vegetables. There’s something about buttery, rich root vegetables that have been cooked for hours. Swoon, I could eat an entire bowl of them– especially pearl onions!
That meal is what this stew is based on. I swapped in mushrooms for the beef and created the stew that I now want to eat on Sunday nights. Savory, rich and perfect for chilly winter evenings.
This one is pretty easy to get right, though there are a few things you should know ahead of time.
It’s not a typo that I’m calling for 3 tablespoons of oil in the beginning. Um, you could even start with 1/4 cup if you wanted to. Beef, obviously, is fatty and to replicate this stew with the same amount of richness you need some fat. Without it, the flavors end up falling rather flat.
You are essentially frying the mushrooms first, coating them in a crispy brown layer as that’s the base of this soup. Take your time and let them become really brown!
This is a soup you’ll want to take your time on. Rushing it will rush the flavor. Let the vegetables cook, let the red wine reduce, stir in the flour and let it cook down. All of these steps help to build the flavor of the soup and are essential, so don’t skip ’em!
Lastly, you’ll notice that I call for two odd ingredients- liquid smoke and marmite.
I wrote this in the notes of the recipe, but I’m going to leave it here as well. Liquid smoke helps add, well, smokiness to the recipe that the beef usually adds. It’s optional as I know some of you don’t like these kind of specialty ingredients.
However, liquid smoke lasts for years in the fridge and I also like it when I’m making tempeh bacon, so it’s likely an ingredient you’ll use again. If you’ve got a little browning gravy liquid, throw that in as well!
The marmite is yeast extract and again, optional but encouraged. Marmite is essentially umami and as I’ve explained here, plant-based food without umami tends to feel like something is ‘missing’. I can find marmite at my Whole Foods and local grocery stores, but you might have to do some digging or buy online. Again, you’ll use this one again and it lasts for a while!
Vegan Beefless Stew! You’ve gotta try this meaty vegan stew, made with mushrooms, carrots and potatoes. Tender vegetables in a rich and hearty red wine broth.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb. baby bella or button mushrooms, cut into large chunks
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 4 celery stalks, chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary (can use 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 pound small potatoes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon marmite (see notes)
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pan or soup pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and mostly browned, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add the carrots, shallots, celery and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t stick, about 7 minutes.
- Add the rosemary, thyme, red wine and bay leaves and deglaze, scraping the pot to get up any browned bits that the vegetables may have left. Increase heat to bring wine to a simmer, then cook until wine is reduced by half, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add in the flour, until it’s completely absorbed by the remaining liquid. Stir in the tomato paste, potatoes and broth, then reduce heat to low to simmer until potatoes are tender and stew has thickened, about 45 minutes.
- Add in the liquid smoke, marmite, lots of freshly ground black pepper and more salt, if needed. I usually end up adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt to my soups, just depends on your broth!
- I know some of you don’t have liquid smoke or marmite lying around…
- The liquid smoke helps add that unmistakeable meaty taste. You don’t have to use it if you can’t find it, though it lasts for years in the fridge and you will likely find other recipes that call for it. A little goes a LONG way, which is why I only call for a 1/2 teaspoon. You can always add more, so start with less and taste.
- Marmite is a really, really good source of umami! As you remember from this post, umami is what is missing in a lot of plant-based eats as it’s concentrated in meat/cheese. I got the idea of adding marmite from Alissa and I think it’s SO yummy in this recipe. You can find it online or in specialty grocery stores. My Whole Foods and local grocery stores carry it. Again, it lasts a while in the fridge. It’s optional though!
Keywords: vegan, mushroom, stew, beef stew, healthy, dinner