About this time of the year I begin craving soups and stews. However, I’ve often found vegetarian stews to be lacking in flavor and substance. My goal for this recipe was to have a thick flavor packed gravy that would cling to a comfort food like mashed potatoes. The key is three ingredients and one cooking technique. Slow cooking of the vegetables and then tomato paste, soy and Worcestershire sauce…and yes there is a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.
I used already cubed tofu that you can buy just about anywhere now but regular block tofu works too, just cut it into bite size cubes after it’s been through the usual tofu ritual. Freeze it, defrost it, drain it, boil it for about five minutes, let it cool, drain and press all the water from it, and then cube it.
The mashed potatoes are a breeze to make and if you use non-dairy cream cheese and milk, this whole meal becomes vegan.
For the Stew
1 14 ounce package extra-firm tofu (see note above for preparation)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
3 carrots, washed, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen sliced green beans
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Salt and pepper
Oil for cooking
For the Potatoes
4 large potatoes (about one pound…Yukon Golds are especially good)
4 ounce package cream cheese
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoon dried herbs, use whatever you like best, parsley, chives, dill, thyme etc.
Salt and pepper
For the Stew-
In a large saucepan and over medium high heat, heat about two tablespoons of oil and then add the tofu cubes. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and saute until they are slightly golden brown.
Add the carrots, onion, and mushrooms…you might need some more oil or you can use some of the stock. Saute for about 2-3 minutes and add a little more salt and pepper, and the thyme.
Add the tomato paste, soy and Worcestershire sauces. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Slowly add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the frozen green beans and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and you’re left with a thick gravy.
For the potatoes
Peel and cube the potatoes and cook them in boiling salted water until tender.
Drain, return to the saucepan you cooked them in. Don’t turn on the heat but put the pan back on the stove and let the heat dry them out while you mash them.
Add the cream cheese and once it’s melted add the herbs and then the milk.
Taste test and see if you need salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with the stew.