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Sunday, October 30, 2011

CRANBERRY DAY 2: RICH VEGAN STEW WITH CRANBERRIES AND MUSHROOMS

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  Tonight's stew in the pot!


Today's Cranberry Fact: "Helicobacter pylori is the major cause of gastric and duodenal ulcers. This bacterium penetrates the mucus lining of the gastrointestinal system and adheres to the underlying epithelial layer. Recently, it was found that a cranberry fraction disabled some strains of H. pylori so that they could not stick to the epithelial surface. Through this mechanism cranberries could help prevent ulcers. A cranberry fraction also reduces the stickiness of oral bacteria and may be useful for delaying the development of dental plaque and gum disease." http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/herbs/cranberry.php

Yesterday we started my 3-day cranberry-fest, suitably, with dried cranberries in our breakfast pancakes.  Today, it's dinner (and we actually  did have it for dinner tonight, with our friend Brenda, who is not a vegetarian, but loves my vegan stews).  I like using fruit in savory dishes, especially tart fruits.  I'm not sure exactly when I invented this stew-- it was at least three years ago-- but it was on a cold day, I know that for sure.  I remember wanting to come up with a stew with complex flavors, rich with wine, mushrooms, onions, and subtle herbs and spices.  I think the dried cranberries were an inspired addition, if I may say so myself.  They add a little edge of tartness (along with a bit of balsamic vinegar) to complement all the rich, deep flavors.  It's become one of our favorite winter stews, and definitely a favorite for winter dinner parties.

  Reconstituted TVP chunks tossed with Seasoned Flour and ready to brown.

I need to add that I prefer textured soy protein chunks in stews-- I like their tender chewiness and their ability to absorb flavors. In the recipe, I have given you some possibilities for substitutes if you don't want to or can't use them, or have none available, but here's a little info.  Textured soy protein is sometimes called TSP, but is also known as the brand TVP®.  It's a low-fat, inexpensive dry product that’s useful as a meat substitute. It is not the same thing as “ hydrolyzed plant protein” or “soy isolate,” BTW. It is made from de-fatted soy flour, cooked under pressure, then extruded to make different sizes and shapes, then dried.  Organic varieties are available: Frontier Co-op has unflavored textured soy protein in 2 different sizes, both organic-- 1/4-inch pieces (similar to granules) and 1/2-inch pieces (small chunk). The Mail-Order Catalog also carries a granulated version and a chunk version, both organic.

One of the alternative suggestions in the recipe is commercial "meaty" vegan strips, "tips" or "tenders".  These products are generally made from a combination of soy and wheat proteins. Common brands are Gardein, Yves, Lightlife, Morningstar Farms, White Wave, and PC Blue Menu (Canada). They are available in natural food stores and large supermarkets, either refrigerated or frozen. Some online vegan vendors will ship them with cold packs.

Now, on to the recipe...

  Ready to eat on a nice mound of mashed potatoes.

BRYANNA'S RICH VEGAN STEW WITH CRANBERRIES
Serves 6-8

Quick to put together; elegant enough for company.  All you need is mashed potatoes, maybe some crusty bread, and a salad.

3 cups textured soy protein (TVP) chunks, reconstituted (about 4 1/2 cups; see info in text above)
(Other options for the protein: seitan cubes; "meaty"commercial  vegan strips, "tips" or "tenders" [see notes above for brands]; or Butler Soy Curls reconstituted in a "beefy" vegetarian broth.)
Seasoned Flour (below)
2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. dark sesame oil
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (a regular yellow onion will work if you have no reds)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetarian broth
1/2 cup hot water + 1/2 T. Marmite (yeast extract)
4 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced into thin “fingers”
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into chunks or slices  (If you don't have shiitakes, you can use portobellos, criminis, or white mushrooms)
1 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup dry or medium sherry
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1 large bay leaf
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 large pinch allspice

Heat the oils together in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet. Coat the TVP chunks with the Seasoned Flour, shake off excess, and brown them in the hot oil. Remove the browned chunks to a bowl and then add the onion and garlic; sauté, adding a little water if necessary, until the onions are softened. Mix the onions and TVP chunks in a large, heavy pot along with the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.  Add freshly-ground black pepper to taste.  Serve hot with mashed potatoes.

BRYANNA’S SEASONED FLOUR
Keep some of this in a tightly-covered container in the refrigerator-- you'll find many uses for it.

Mix together 2 cups whole wheat, or other wholegrain, flour, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes, 1 tsp. salt, and, optional, 1 tsp. onion powder and freshly-ground black pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts for 6 servings:
Nutrition (per serving):
567.4 calories; 11% calories from fat; 7.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 327.4mg sodium; 928.9mg potassium; 104.0g carbohydrates; 8.5g fiber; 2.9g sugar; 95.5g net carbs; 16.9g protein; 11.2 points.

Nutrition Facts for 8 servings:
Nutrition (per serving):
425.6 calories; 11% calories from fat; 5.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 245.5mg sodium; 696.7mg potassium; 78.0g carbohydrates; 6.4g fiber; 2.2g sugar; 71.6g net carbs; 12.6g protein; 8.2 points.

Enjoy!

2 comments:

GemueseGirl said...

I love Soycurls as a meat substitute. I reconstitute them in the 'beefy' marinade that you published some time ago and they are delish! I have fooled a couple of meat eaters with them :-)

LOVE your blog, btw. Several of your recipes have become staples - corn butter, for example.

wendy brick said...

Just made this for dinner...it is amazing! Thank you!