Stew instantly makes me think comfort. Goulash reminds me of my mom’s cooking. She made a great goulash, and I do believe it was instrumental in my loving vegetables as a child. On a rainy day (here in Florida we have a lot of those) there’s nothing better than settling down on the couch with a warm bowl of soup or stew. When I came across this recipe from Annie and Dan Shannon’s book (link below), I knew it would have to be on my table soon.
What I like about this book is that it offers budget-friendly recipes (breaking down the cost per serving) and kitchen tips on how to use leftover items/ingredients. I also wanted pictures, as I am someone who has to see what the final product is going to look like before I attempt a recipe, and this book has lovely photos to accompany the recipes.
I had to drive a bit out of town to my favorite health food store to find the Gardein Beefless Tips, but honestly, I always look for a reason to hit that store. It’s a few blocks away from the beach so it’s always breezy, and the store smells fabulous. They always have the freshest produce and if I’m ever looking for something specific or unusual, they usually have it.
I do apologize for some of these being cell phone pictures. My good camera’s battery died almost immediately after I picked it up (go figure) so the cell phone it was.
I’d never had the beefless tips before, so I was excited to try them. They were actually pretty “beefy” looking. In my favorite large red pot, I added the olive oil, tossing in the onions and the entire package of beefless tips and cooked the mixture until the onions were tender. When the “meat” is done, it will be slightly crispy on the outside. Remove it from the pot and set aside.
I mixed the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Rama was very interested in what I was doing (see photo below for a genuine Corso in the kitchen). I also got my beef broth going, using the beef base recommended in the recipe. I’d never used that before, either, and I must say it made a very tasty beef broth.
Here’s my favorite part–toss all the remaining ingredients into the pot. How easy is that? Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, stirring ingredients to make sure everything is nice and blended. Since the potatoes and carrots will take the longest to cook, use this to gauge when your stew is finished.
I did omit a few ingredients. I am not a fan of soy sauce, so I eliminated that. I also left out the parsnips and potatoes, substituted cilantro for the parsley, red onions for white, and added green beans.
Remember the vegan beef and onion mixture you sat aside earlier? Add that to the pot, stir and you’re done! So easy. The book suggests serving it with fresh, warm bread (which sounds divine), but bread is off limits for me so I ate it by itself. The combination of spices was delightful and exotic, much different than I am used to. My husband will tell you my tastes are relatively plain. He is a big fan of Indian and Mexican foods, and loves the heavy spices. This reminded me that spices can blend together to make something excitingly different that I can enjoy.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the beefless tips, which were really tasty. The texture was not unlike a soft meatball. I will be buying them again. I am not a fan of real beef, but these were good. Overall I was pleased with the dish and everyone (including kids) ate it!