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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.
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