Monday, December 30, 2019

Spanish Inspired Beef(less) Stew

This Spanish Inspired Beef(less) Stew is filled with hearty potatoes, onions and carrots, chunks of Vegetable Protein and a sprinkling of peas in a heady tomato-paprika base. Ready in about 45 minutes and a healthy way to warm up this Winter!

I openly admit I have a love affair with Spanish food of all kinds. I'm not sure if it's purely the flavours I'm attracted to - the whole production of dishes such as paella are a spectacle in themselves - but I do know that if there's paprika and / or saffron involved you can bet I'll want a taste! This stew I whipped up on a whim after scrolling through my "suggested" reads on Google, and seeing as I had all the ingredients (and then some) in the pantry I eagerly gave it a shot. I adapted it slightly based on what I had on hand, and of course to add my favourite Spanish paprika, but from start to finish in under an hour I really have no regrets about making this!

The secret to the "beef" in this stew is textured vegetable protein chunks, which I actually keep on hand for making "chicken" salads as a cheap and portable source of protein. I love them because they are essentially all protein and fibre, no fat, and soak up the flavours they're soaked in, which in this case was a beefless broth and a spice packed tomato stew. If the idea of using TVP puts you off or you can't get them where you are, cubed tofu or even cooked chickpeas would be a great substitute without the "beefiness". I also jacked up the amount of vegetables going on because, well, vegetables, and I also had the dregs of my garden's heirloom carrots wasting away in the fridge that I needed to use. A brief taste test after cooking confirmed an amazing balance of flavours - rich but not weigh-you-down heavy, stick to your ribs but also leaving you feeling healthy after a bowl. And can we say filling? The amount of protein and fibre in this stew means you won't be hungry for ages - which is great if you're still traipsing around to holiday parties or are trying to curb the holiday snacking.

Spanish Inspired Beef(less) Stew
Adapted from Simple Vegan
Serves 4
2 oz textured vegetable protein chunks (Soy Curls also work)
4 cups no-beef broth (or vegetable broth + 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, diced
5 medium carrots, diced
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp Spanish paprika
1/2 cup water
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp tamari
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
  1. Combine textured vegetable protein chunks with the no-beef broth in a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot and add the garlic, onion, carrots and potatoes. 
  3. Saute about 5 minutes, until fragrant, then add the paprika and cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the soaked textured vegetable protein chunks with all the liquid, the water, tomato paste, bay leaves, pepper and tamari. 
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially cover and cook 20 minutes, until potatoes are done.
  6. Stir in the peas and warm through.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days.

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