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Vegan "Beef" stew help


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#1 bonkboo

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:07 PM

Tried to do a vegan version. Started by making a vegetable stock last week. The did the usual onion sweat, tried to go slow and long to draw out lots of flavor. Added carrots and celery. Then added stock. Next tofu three ways: infused with soy and fish (I know I messed up totally vegan here but it's a secret) sauces, plain tofu, and tofu dredged in a soy milk/miso mix followed by nutritional yeast and seared. Mushrooms next, followed by some potatoes. Boil, simmer for a duration. Add some kale. Delicious. But could not get enough meaty umami. Ideas?

#2 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 07:20 PM

Seitan



#3 liuzhou

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 09:23 PM

Konjac



#4 Robenco15

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 09:24 PM

Not a Vegan at all, but maybe there is some inspiration here?:

 

http://www.chefsteps...le-glaze-r-d-v4



#5 djyee100

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 09:27 PM

Anna Thomas has a winter vegetable stew in her Vegetarian Epicure cookbooks that I've always liked, even though I'm not vegetarian. I've only tried the version in her original cookbook. The sauce is delicious and rich from garlic, white wine, lots of mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, and other ingredients. The Worcestershire sauce is the cheat. It contains anchovies.

The New Vegetarian Epicure cookbook has a variation on this stew that subs soy sauce for the Worcestershire sauce.

If you're using tofu, I suggest pressing or squeezing out some of the liquid before marinating the tofu or adding it to the stew. The tofu liquid will only dull the flavors in your final dish.

Winter Veg Stew recipe from original Vegetarian Epicure cookbook on Googlebooks (keep scrolling):
http://books.google....epicure&f=false

Adapted Winter Veg Stew recipe from New Vegetarian Epicure cookbook:
http://andreasgarden...vegetable-stew/
 



#6 jsager01

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 10:33 PM

But could not get enough meaty umami. Ideas?

 

if you mean a more meaty texture, and if starting from  fresh tofu, try freezing them first. Or use tempeh which is soy based.

For umami, MSG is vegan? or add in konbu, and yes lots of mushrooms, especially dried shitaki. 

Chinese grocery stores now sell (depending on where you live) ' vegetarian meats' like beef balls, duck, etc, ready to eat or cook.


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#7 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:15 PM

What's in the stock? Why not make a mushroom-based broth jacked with a bit of Marmite? I mean, look at Heston Blumenthal's Marmite consomme. He has a pared back version in his at Home book if you're not up for tackling any Fat Duck madness. I reckon you'll have more success creating a meaty non-meaty result by tinkering with the base of the dish than you will with adjusting any of the ingredients that go in at the end. 

EDIT

 

I'm assuming that Marmite is vegan and not merely vegetarian. Altho' I guess if tofu jacked with fish sauce is kosher then yeast spread probably gets a pass.


Edited by ChrisTaylor, 05 January 2014 - 11:15 PM.

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#8 djyee100

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:43 PM

A Seitan Bourguignon from Myra Kornfeld's Voluptuous Vegan cookbook. I haven't tried this recipe, though I have tried other recipes in this cookbook and liked them. You can sub dried shittake mushrooms for the porcini.
http://www.theveggie...ef-bourguignon/



#9 liuzhou

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:51 PM

In my experience, most Chinese vegan restaurants offer fake beef made from wheat gluten or konjac rather than tofu. But, in any case that is largely a matter of texture rather than flavour.

 

For flavour, mushrooms play a large part. You mention that you use mushrooms, but which kind? If you want to emulate meat you need a strongly flavoured meaty mushroom. I'd be looking at good quality dried shiitake, porcini, etc.

 

Actually, no I wouldn't. I've never seen the point of vegetarian / vegan food pretending to be meat. If people don't want to eat meat (which is their choice) then why do they pretend they are eating meat?

Just serve me some honest vegetables.

 

(See post two in this thread for a Chinese vegan meat replicating menu.)


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#10 bonkboo

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:25 AM

In retrospect, I realized I forgot to incorporate kombu and tempeh. I had done a version of Bittman's tempeh recipe that tastes a lot like bacon.

As for not offering to those who don't want meat, this is for me and my wife, both meat eaters. Just had this vision that I wanted to try to be a meatless, healthier option.

#11 Blether

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:54 AM

If you're fine with a little fish, you could try some gohan desu yo (I can't speak for this supplier, it's just one of the first Google results).  If you want easy konbu, you can get it as a "tea"  powder (can't speak for the brand this time - I've only tried Ito-en's)  It's actually a good drink, like beef tea but... well, you get the idea.

 

Oh, here's konbu-cha in the NYT, too.  You probably know it already.


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#12 Porthos

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 09:36 AM

I've never seen the point of vegetarian / vegan food pretending to be meat. If people don't want to eat meat (which is their choice) then why do they pretend they are eating meat?

In the 10 years I have been preparing vegan dishes in my renaissance faire kitchen this has been a question I could never answer. I gladly prepare vegan food as part of the feast for those who are vegan, I just never make anything that is pretend meat. As for how I feel about meat for myself, look at my signature line.

 

I did just have a new thought about this run though my mind. If someone who loves meat has adopted vegan eating as part of fighting a disease, I can see that person longing for something that reminds them of the meat they gave up for health reasons. My friend Tina, who lives far from me and is battling breast cancer, comes to mind.


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#13 Plantes Vertes

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 10:48 AM

I would guess that most vegans choose their lifestyle as a matter of personal ethics rather than aversion to the taste of meat; they might like meat but prefer to sacrifice eating it because of perceived cruelty.

 

In fact the tradition of fake meat food originates with Buddhist monks if I understand correctly. They don't eat meat because they believe it's wrong to do so, but obviously still enjoy the taste and texture.



#14 djyee100

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 02:53 PM

...Just had this vision that I wanted to try to be a meatless, healthier option.

 

If that's your goal, I'm not sure that starting with a meat-based dish and trying to sub for the meat is the best approach. That's the hard way to do things, IMO.

Vegetarian cooking can be fantastically delicious, but it is very different from meat-based cooking. Vegetables have beautiful colors, textures, and a range of flavors that meat does not have. Why not work with that? Great vegetarian cooking also calls for a mastery of spices and herbs beyond that of meat-based cooking. There are many good cookbooks out there for vegetarian cooking, especially for the Indian and Asian cuisines.

I played around with vegetarianism a long time ago (I lasted 6 months). I discovered that to eat satisfactorily, I had to revamp my cooking entirely, avoid the concepts of meat-based cooking (e.g., vegetables are a side dish), and expand my repertoire into other cuisines, especially the so-called Third World cuisines. At that time, or even since then, I have never found a method or substitute that closely matches the deep savory taste of meat.



#15 Ttogull

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 08:56 PM

 
For flavour, mushrooms play a large part. You mention that you use mushrooms, but which kind? If you want to emulate meat you need a strongly flavoured meaty mushroom. I'd be looking at good quality dried shiitake, porcini, etc.
 
Actually, no I wouldn't. I've never seen the point of vegetarian / vegan food pretending to be meat. If people don't want to eat meat (which is their choice) then why do they pretend they are eating meat?
Just serve me some honest vegetables.
 


I agree on the seitan. I've had some amazing stuff at some vegan restaurants (Candle 79 in NYC and a local vegan Chinese place). You have to concentrate to know you are not eating meat in some cases - in others, it is pretty obvious. For the stew I might think about 50-50 seitan and mushroom, probably shiitake (for the distinguishable part). I can't imagine tofu being convincing.

I switched to vegan for a while, vowing I'd never try to emulate meat dishes. Soon I was trying to emulate meat dishes. I've never had any success - despite having tasted others' success - but I was taught that trying but failing is a great teacher. For me it was. I learned a lot about texture and taste. My general cooking is better as a result.

I think the desire to emulate meat might also have to do with (in addition to the reasons already mentioned) that food provides a certain comfort. Often texture, independent of taste. Think gooey cheese. That cheese could be the finest, or it could be the crappiest American in a grilled cheese. For me, the texture of meat was not so much an issue. But now I do not eat pasta, but I love casseroles. I've started making imitations of my previous casseroles that substitute (depending on context) kale, collards, broccoli, or cauliflower in place of noodles. For whatever reason, I find that I *prefer* the noodle substitutes, thus accomplishing my goal. So I do understand why one might want meat substitutes.

I think djyee100 almost says what I want to say: Concentrating on veggies - and making them the centerpiece - forces one to learn a lot. For me, gone are the days when the meat was the meal. Now, most of the time, the best veggies I can find are the meal, and the meat is chosen to complement and is much more modest in quantity. Our family has cut our meat consumption by 50-75%, but our meals are better and more satisfying than ever.
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