April 20, 2019

X-Veg Files

By Jess Wisloski

Wintry stew: AKA clean out the fridge

Vegetarians can have a challenge finding mid-winter satisfaction akin to a beef stew, but this is it, and can work well with any variation of vegetables you need to use up. It makes sense that such a hearty recipe came from a Vermonter — it’s a take off Ginny Callan’s recipe in Horn of the Moon Cookbook, named for a long-gone veg restaurant I used to frequent in Montpelier.

Gypsy Stew

5 tablespoons sunflower or canola oil

1 t. dried thyme

2 potatoes, cubed (skin on)

2-3 carrots, sliced (skin on)

2 onions, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb. tofu, cut into cubes

1 1/2 c. cabbage, cut into bite sized

1 1/2 c. chopped up green beans (I use frozen ones)

2 c. chopped broccoli

2 c. sliced up kale or spinach (kale holds up better)

1 to 2 c. lima beans (frozen is fine)

6 c. water

1/2 c. red wine

4 tablespoons of flour

2 tablespoons (or more, to taste) of tamari, shoyu or Bragg’s liquid aminos

Spice mix

1/2 t. ground cumin

1/2 t. cayenne pepper

2 t. smoked paprika

1 t. salt

In a large soup pot, add 3 tablespoons of the oil on medium, and the next five ingredients on the list, heating till they get tender. When they are, add at least 4 cups of water and the wine, spice mix and half the tamari. Add more water if desired, as you go.

Meanwhile with rest of the oil, fry up the tofu in a skillet until it’s browned (it’s really more of a yellowy color, but firm), then splash the other tablespoon of tamari on it at the end, cooking for just one minute then add to the soup.

In the same skillet you fried the tofu/tamari, brown the flour for 2-3 minutes on medium, and slowly add scoops from the soup broth, whisking until you have a nice pasty consistency. When it’s a thick wet paste, scrape into the soup and stir until it’s stewy.

Jess Wisloski, the Observer’s editor, was a longtime vegetarian and still feels inadequate when preparing meat, though she likes eating it. At home, she sticks largely to vegetarian cooking.

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