It's been raining steadily for the past two days. Even though we are in early spring, there's still a bit of that "in like a lion" part happening this March. And while it's a rarity on the west coast, we even had a thunderstorm. So, with that as my backdrop, I felt it was time to cultivate some much needed hygge (translation: cosiness). I made some spiced warm tea, and got going on a delicious stew.
Whether you buy your seitan or make your own, it's a great source of vegan protein. One serving can boast up to 25 grams of protein. It's hard to get that from avocado toast alone. It's also incredibly versatile, because it's texture is not mushy. You can fry it, sauté it, braise it, roast it... pretty much whatever you want. It can also be very cost effective, especially if you bypass the pre-packaged variety and make your own.
This stew was a challenge to myself. I wanted to see if I could make a hearty "beef" stew without relying on copious amounts of red wine to carry the flavor. While there's still a touch in there, it is far less than I normally would use. The flavors really works, so I am impressed with myself, and I hope you will be too.
1 8 ounce package of seitan chunks
1 medium onion, chopped in crescents
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil + more, if needed
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp dry red wine
1 8 ounce package of fresh sliced mushrooms
3 celery stalks, chopped in big pieces
3 carrots, chopped in big pieces
2 yellow potatoes, chopped in big pieces
2 cups broth (fake beef broth or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp flour dissolved in ¼ cup very cold water
Nutritional yeast, optional
1. In a large, heavy pot or dutch oven, add olive oil, onion and garlic over high heat. When it starts to sizzle, turn down to medium low and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the spices, bay leaves, seitan and a bit more olive oil (if needed!), and sauté for 5 minutes over low heat.
2. Pour in the red wine and deglaze the pot--scraping off the bits of onion and seitan from the bottom of the pot. Add the mushrooms, and allow them to sweat a bit and reduce in size (sauté for about 4 more minutes).
3. Add celery, carrots, potatoes, broth and water. Cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and stir in flour that is completely dissolved in cold water. Until it's completely incorporated, continuously stir to avoid lumps forming from the flour-water mixture. It should thicken up the "gravy" of the stew. If it's not as thick as you like it, add more flour dissolved in water until it reaches the consistency that you like. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with nutritional yeast on top (optional).