Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Stew

I am totally in St. Patrick's day mode. I don't know if I'm just feeling the green love this year or if it's the fact that I have a five year old who loves to celebrate any holiday; even the 'holiday-ish' holidays. Either way I like it.

So a while back I made the vegan corned beef and cabbage in celebration of this green holiday-ish. Yes, I was going to post a photo of a giant Guinness and yes I may still. It's like a meal, yes?

But I just couldn't stop at that. My irish roots are ringing strong this year so I made another delicious attempt at a good old favorite, just in time for tomorrow: Irish stew.

And the 'beef' broth? Holy guacamole it is good. I want to drink it all by itself. Probably because it's made with Guinness. But I'm telling you. It's good.

Update: I recently discovered that Guinness is not vegan. They use fish byproducts in the production. Apparently it isn't supposed to remain in the finished product, but technically that makes it not vegan :(

I also love the seitan meat in this stew because, as you will find out in upcoming days, it can be used over and over in many recipes and you know how much I love to re-purpose ingredients. As a whole, this stew is deceivingly simple to make and packed full of flavor...

For now though, finish perfecting your irish jig, iron your four leaf clover sweater, dust off your fancy pot o' gold earrings and proclaim in your loudest voice, 'I'm the leprechaun!' Oh. And make this stew too.

Yield: About 8 servings (with 'beef' left over for other amazing things)

For the 'beef' and broth:
2 cups Guinness beer (about a can)

4 cups water
4 cups (1 tetra pak) mushroom broth
2 cups plus 1/2 to 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tablespoons spelt flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup Bragg's liquid aminos (you can use tamari or soy sauce too)
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped very fine
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the stew:
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped fairly fine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4-5 medium carrots, chopped large
12-15 purple potatoes, chopped large (note: can use any small-ish potato; the purple ones are just fun)
2 cups Guinness beer (about a can)
About 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped fine

Start by preparing your 'beef' broth in which your 'beef' will cook. To do so, in a large pot, combine the 2 cups Guinness, 4 cups water, mushroom broth and 1/2 cup Bragg's. Turn the stove on and bring this mixture to a simmer. Note: I started this first because it took some time to get the mix up to temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine first 2 cups vital wheat gluten, spelt flour and nutritional yeast.

In a larger bowl, combine water, 1/2 cup Bragg's, ketchup, olive oil, garlic and pepper. Whisk to ensure everything is properly mixed together.

Stirring constantly, gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. As you are mixing, you will find you need more vital wheat gluten; gradually add the additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup depending on your consistency. You want your mix to be fairly moist yet 'thick' enough to shape.

When all ingredients are combined, use your hands to knead your dough for a couple minutes. From here you can either shape it into a loaf or break it off into smaller pieces. I chose to break it into little pieces for the stew. It worked quite well.

Once broth mixture is up to temperature, gently place your 'beef' pieces into the pot. Let them simmer for 1 hour on the stovetop.

While your 'beef' is simmering in the broth, prepare the rest of your stew.

In a large pot, sautee the onions and garlic with a little extra virgin olive oil on med/high. Once translucent, add the tomato paste, carrots and potatoes.

Stir to combine then add the additional 2 cups Guinness and thyme. Reduce heat to low and ladle in about 2 cups of the 'beef' broth from your simmering 'beef'. Stir this whole mixture together then cover and let cook on low for about 45 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Note: the consistency of the liquid in the stew will be thin. As for the ratio of liquid to veg, it's up to you. If you like a lot of liquid, ladle more of the broth from the 'beef'. There should be plenty in with the 'beef' so don't shy away from using it.

Once your 'beef' is done, scoop them from the broth and transfer 1/2 into your stew. Transfer an equal amount of the broth into your stew as well. Put the remainder into a refrigerator container. Remember to let them cool before you refrigerate. We will use the leftovers in an upcoming recipe.

Stir your stew to combine everything and let cook for another 10-15 minutes or so, until the veg is tender.

I prepared some fantastic truffle twists and pesto twists to go along with this hearty stew. A lovely green salad would also be perfect; and give you some fresh fiber for a complete meal.

The tender veg, paired with your handmade seitan 'beef' is a perfect combination along with the robust flavor of the broth. Sure to warm bellies and irish hearts; vegan or not.


Vital Wheat Gluten, 50#


  1. Anonymous, nope. I didnt know that. Not a prob for me but i will definitely update the recipe info for others!

  2. I think Guinness is probably Vegan enough for me too.....I don't really care for beer, especially dark. But cooked in a meal, THAT I can handle!

    This stew looks delicious! I really want to make something for the holiday tomorrow - I know my husband would love it. I'm hoping I get some energy back so I feel like whipping something Irish up. Like this yummy stew!

  3. I guess Anonymous decided to delete his/her comment... hmm...

    Teri... yeah, I'm ok with it. That's my flexitarian coming out. It is so good and really simple! :) Have fun and I hope you find your energy!

  4. I'm making this for dinner tonight. :)

  5. Teri... how'd it go? Hope it turned out great... I'm sure it did :)

  6. You haven't blogged in so long! But totally understandable. I was just looking at this recipe again as it sounded really good for dinner tonight. :)



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