Yesterday was supposedly the first day of Spring, but you wouldn’t know it from our weather. It’s been raining for days and the temperature has been pretty chilly for Mississippi. So last night I resorted to a favorite family comfort-food: Beefless Stew.
I try not to use many processed “meats” in my cooking, but every now and then they come in handy for making a childhood favorite dish into something I can still enjoy as a vegan. When I first became a vegetarian, I made this stew with tempeh. Later I discovered Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) and liked it even better. But after reading about the health concerns associated with the soy protein isolates in TVP, I now make the stew with soy curls or with seitan, which turns out to be the tastiest option.
The basic recipe for Beefless Stew is endlessly adaptable; I never make it the same way twice, adding herbs to taste and varying amounts to fit the ingredients I have on-hand. For instance, that batch of stew you see in the photo above (which was taken by my budding photographer daughter) contained only about 2 ounces of mushrooms and they were baby portabellas, because that’s all I had in the fridge. And I didn’t use the millet this time around, so it’s completely optional. And ditto for the wine: the red wine adds a great deal of flavor, but I didn’t have any so I skipped it. And I had yukon gold potatoes instead of red.
Anyway, you get the picture. It’s home-style cooking at its easiest–just toss it all in a pot and cook. If you make it and use any new ingredients, please drop me a comment and let me know. It’s my mom’s recipe, but I won’t tell her you changed it!
Well, in the crazy, multiple-personality spirit of Spring in the South, today is a gorgeous, sunny miracle. I’m going to take my twisted ankle and my dog out for a little walk (hobble?) in the yard. I wish you all sunshine and blue skies, too!