Thursday, August 18, 2011

Momma’s Traditional ‘Beef’ Stew...

For the past two week I’ve had this wicked bad and very strange craving for some kind of a ‘beef’ stew. Now cravings are nothing new to me, especially weird ones. For as long as I can remember I’ve always been struck out of the blue by some intense craving or other. In fact it happens frequently, and is just like pregnancy cravings - so I’m told - minus the pregnancy part. What makes this craving particularly strange is that I was never the kind of person who enjoyed a hearty beef soup or stew. Even as a kid, it was not my favorite dish. Yet here I’ve been craving ‘beef’ stew for nearly two weeks, and so finally yesterday I gave in and tried my hand at pulling together a vegan version.

I was very skeptical as I was making it. For most of the cooking process it just didn’t look right, smelt okay but that I’ve found that aroma isn’t always the best indicator of taste. I’d also never used Gardein Beefless tips before and wasn’t sure how that was going to be. Yet by the time I was done, not only did it smell wonderful, it actually looked like a traditional beef stew, and the flavor! It was out of this world! I’m telling you. I was so amazed, I turned to my husband and said "I think this is the best beef stew I’ve ever made." I’m not kidding when I say this tastes almost exactly like the stew I remember my mom making as a kid. The texture is a little different, meaty of course but not tough, chewy or grisly like actual meat, which I appreciate.

Now I realize a lot of you reading are living in climates in which it is summer, but you never know, if a rainy day swings your way I urge you to make this, and for those of you ‘down under’ this is a perfect fall/winter food. Warm, and comforting on a chilly evening.

Momma’s Traditional ‘Beef’ Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 Large yellow onion chopped in medium sized chunks
2 Ribs celery sliced into 1 inch pieces
12 Baby carrots sliced in half lengthwise then halved crosswise
10 Garlic cloves crushed (or to taste)
3 Medium sized potatoes chopped in small cubes
2 C frozen peas
18 oz Gardein Beefless Tips (Two packs)
3 1/2C Water
1/2C Red Wine
½ tsp Ground Thyme
½ tsp Crushed Rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste
2 Not-Beef Bullion Cubes (Edward & Sons makes a good one)
3 tbsp flour
1-2 Tbsp Earth Balance

- Heat Oil in medium-large sized pot. Add chopped onion and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes. Add carrots, and celery and saute until onions and carrots have softened slightly. About 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

- Whisk together water, flour, and bullion cubes. Then add to the pot along with potatoes, thyme, rosemary, oregano, pepper and salt.

- Cover and bring to boil. Let boil for 5-10 minutes then add 3/4 of the half cup of red wine and reduce heat and let simmer about 20 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots are fork tender. Stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile empty beefless tips into a separate pan on medium-high heat. Pour the remaining wine over top and cook them till they’re nicely seared and brown on all sides.

- By this time the potatoes and carrots should be fork tender. Add the Peas, Earth Balance and beefless tips to the pot, along with any pan juices. If there are crusty bits of beefless tip coating the bottom of your pan, scrape them into the stew pot. It’ll add a great flavor. Simmer another 10 minutes to let flavors mingle, stirring once or twice, then remove pot from heat and let it rest ten minutes before serving.

- Taste for seasonings and add more salt, pepper, or red wine to your liking. Serve in a large wide mouthed bowl, with a couple of pieces of crusty whole grain bread.

This really is a rich and warming stew, and heavenly aromatic. It makes the whole house smell like Thanksgiving or Christmas, and in fact the broth form this stew would be the perfect substitute for a ‘traditional’ turkey or beef gravy.

PS: If you’ve never heard of Gardein and would like to know more about them and the products they offer you can check out their website here -


  1. This looks delicious, I will be sure to try this out, we love a good stew in the fall and winter months! Thanks ST

  2. This was SO fantastic! I can't wait until we have another 'beef' stew. =D - Matt