Project “VIS”: (Vegan-izing my Irish Stew)

I know I should probably start off with an apology for my absence. I kinda had a crazy last few months. From starting a new job to suddenly losing that job and asked to consult for a vegan brand, to relocating my life and trying to just find a darn kitchen to cook in, I just have to say – WTF 2019???!!!! I definitely did NOT sign up for what I endured last year, and VERY happy that year is over.

Ok, that profanity out and off my chest, also I have definitely been cooking but been seeking inspiring dishes to post about. Which leads me to this post as I did a thing: veganized my irish stew recipe.

This stew recipe is not just ANY recipe. It involves hours of slow cooking, searing, and flavour-infusing, combined with precisely cut veg and the perfect mix of seasonings. But, it had meat, and I wanted to give it a shot.

Could I possibly replace my secret, tried and true recipe with a new and improved plant version?

I think I did just that, and am pretty darn pleased.

Ingredients:

2 pkgs gardein “Beefless Tips” (found at most large grocers)

5-6 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced into uniform, 1/2 inch chunks

7-8 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, halved and then cut into uniform chunks

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 pkg dried assorted exotic mushrooms – rehydrated in 1 cup warm water

1 box vegetable stock

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 cloves of garlic

2 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

1 can Guinness beer

small handful fresh parsley

2 cups water

1 cup frozen peas

cornstarch, to thicken

  • I highly recommend a slow cooker for this.

Method:

  1. Coat bottom of non-stick pan with olive oil. “saute” Vegan nuggets from frozen for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and coat in cornstarch. Return to pan and add more oil if needed, along with 2 whole cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and sprigs of herbs. Saute the nuggets until crisp and browned, another 5-6 minutes. Pat dry and set aside-leaving herbs and “pan drippings” in your pan.
  2. turn on crock pot to high setting. Add in chopped vegetables, bay leaf and box of broth along with water. cover and heat for two hours on high.
  3. Add hydrated mushrooms with the water to the pan you used previously, adding 1-2 tsp of cornstarch. Cook on medium heat until thickened for about 7-10 minutes – or, it is boiling. Slowly add the Guinness, keeping the boil (so do this very slow). turn pan down, and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, whisking as needed. Remove herb stems. Puree very well the entire mixture with an immersion blender under very smooth. Add vegan margarine if you wish at this stage.
  4. After 2 hours, add in peas, gardein nuggets, and “Guinness roux”. Stir and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Remove stalks from parsley and roughly chop, adding to stew. Cook for additional 1.5-2 hours, depending on your crock pot. Check for doneness but vegetables should be tender and gravy thick. Add any water as required but it should be a hearty dish.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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