Now that we're back (and yes, more about the trip will be posted - lots more) I feel like I've had two summer-to-autumn transitions. Vancouver started feeling like fall before we left, then we experienced super hot weather in Charleston and Savannah. Moving north through New York, up the Hudson Valley, and into Toronto where it was cool and rainy, it felt like that transition was happening all over again and in a condensed time frame. I thought I had the fall cooking bug before we left, well now it's on me ten-fold.
Today I made Irish stew, using seitan which is a gluten product that can absorb flavours and kind of mimics the texture of beef - well, kind of. The house smells so good! When was the last time I had Irish stew? Probably over seven years ago before the whole vegetarian thing kicked in. The result today looks and smells terrific. It turns out we forgot that a friend from Toronto is coming to town and we had casual plans to meet him out somewhere for dinner. The stew will definitely keep until tomorrow, and will probably even improve with sitting, but now neither of us wants to go out for a night on the town! Sometimes comfort food is just the thing.
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups seitan -- chunked
1.5 cups carrots -- chopped
1.5 cups portobello mushroom, chopped
1 cup onion -- chopped
1.5 cups potatoes -- peeled and chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary -- whole
1 tsp garlic -- minced
1 tsp basil
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cups water
4 tsp tamari soy sauce
1 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce (vegan)
1/4 cup celery -- chopped
4 Tbsp water -- cold
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1. Saute seitan in oil over medium heat in a large pot until seitan crisps up a bit.
2. Put veggies (except celery), and herbs and spices into the pot. Sautee in a little water or veggie broth at medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
3. Add tomato paste, water, Worchestershire and tamari and bring to a simmer. Cook about 10 more minutes or until veggies are soft. [I used pretty big chunks of veggies so cooked it quite a bit longer in this stage]
4. Add celery (add at end to help retain color and texture).
5. Mix the 4 T cold water with the cornstarch. Turn off heat under stew. Vigorously stir in cornstarch solution. Turn heat back on under stew and stir until thickened.
Number of Servings: 4 - 6