October 31, 2022

VEGAN RECIPE REVIEW: Chicken(less) Stew

I've made a few recipes from 'Plant Power Couple' since becoming vegan, and I just can't get enough. Their recipes are so good! It all started with the Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets--Jerry and I became obsessed with tofu after that.

They also have a post called "How to Make Tofu Taste Like Chicken: The Freezer Trick" which taught me a lot about cooking tofu. (Especially why using an oil-based marinade is better than other liquids.) If you're new to tofu, I highly recommend reading that post (and the Lemon Pepper Cutlets recipe is linked in that post as well).

The homemade vegan chicken-flavored bouillon is out-of-this-world amazing and I use it ALL THE TIME.

Anyway, normally I try to branch out and prepare recipes from sites I haven't reviewed before, but I was dying to make this Chicken(less) Stew ever since I made the Vegan Pot Pie. This stew looks and tastes pretty much like the inside of a chicken pot pie. Now that the fall weather is here, this bowl of stew was the perfect cozy comfort food. (I'll link to this stew recipe again at the end of the post)

Needless to say, I really liked it. I mean, I really REALLY liked it! There is quite a bit of prep work, but that might just be because I'm slow...? I don't know.

The ingredients include a couple of what I used to refer to as "weird" vegan ingredients (nutritional yeast, soy curls, and raw cashews); those are things that I assume most people don't have on hand. This recipe was so good though, I just had to share it! I wasn't sure if I was going to post it or not, so I took pictures just in case.

It calls for raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes (Tip: when I need cashews to make cream in the blender, instead of soaking, I put them in a bowl, fill with water about an inch above the cashews, then microwave for 6 minutes. Then I add more water--because it will evaporate if microwaved without enough water--and nuke again for a few more minutes. Then I rinse them under cold water in order to keep the blender from getting hot. (I really do need to invest in a Blendtec or Vitamix!) But anyway, the goal is just to soften the cashews so that they blend smoothly.)

Okay, so here are the ingredients:

Raw cashews, olive oil, onion, carrots, garlic, cauliflower (a whole head!), water, soy curls, potato, frozen corn, frozen peas, nutritional yeast, vegan bouillon powder (here is a link to the BEST ONE EVER), thyme, sea salt, and black pepper. Seriously, the vegan chicken-style bouillon powder is absolutely amazing, and better than any store-bought chicken seasoning, vegan or not.

After making the Vegan Pot Pie, I learned that soy curls and TVP are actually not the same thing in different shapes and I'd assumed. The soy curls are processed differently. I didn't really understand it, but you can google the difference in them if you're interested. I have TVP "pieces"--which are about bite-size when rehydrated.

Moving on...

First, the prep. I like to prep everything before I even start cooking--which I know is inefficient--because it helps me from feeling frazzled and rushed when I'm actually cooking. The recipe said to "roughly" chop the cauliflower, so I assumed it didn't mean florets. I cut out the thick stem, then ran my knife through the cauliflower over and over until they were chopped pretty fine. I later learned that chopping them small was a good thing, because they get mashed anyway.

I also chopped the potato (I didn't peel it because it was a Yukon Gold potato, which has very thin skin) and onion, then peeled and chopped the carrots. I don't like any sort of crunchy texture to carrots, so I cut them pretty small.

Then I made the cashew cream. I love making cashew cream because it seems like magic, but I hate having to soften the cashews first. The microwave trick works, though--I usually put the cashews in the microwave before starting anything else, so that they are done before I need them.

To make cashew cream (which is neutral-flavored, unless you add seasoning to it), you just put the softened cashews in a blender with water. The ratio of cashews to cream varies by recipe--obviously, the less water you use, the thicker the cream will be.

I have to run it through 2-3 cycles to get it completely smooth, but if you have a good high-powered blender, the process is much easier.

I measured out the spices, peas, nutritional yeast, and corn, and finally--I was ready to start cooking.

First, you just sauté the onions and garlic until soft. Don't you love the smell of onions and garlic cooking?

Then you pour in water and all of the cauliflower. It looked like SO much cauliflower! Good thing I love it.

You let it cook until the cauliflower is soft, and then you use a stick blender to purée the whole thing. It ends up looking like lumpy mashed potatoes.

Then you just dump in the rest of the ingredients (including the cashew cream). From there, you just let it simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. I probably let mine cook too long because I was waiting for Jerry to come inside from doing yard work. It still didn't look very pretty in the pot (I probably should have cut the veggies larger) but I took a taste and it was delicious!

The color always looks better when it's not under the stove light!

Next time, I think I'll cut the potatoes bigger and I'll double the corn and peas. But this made a super thick and hearty stew--thanks to the cauliflower and cashew cream. And the flavor--it all comes down to the vegan chicken-style bouillon powder! I make it in huge batches now because I use it all the time. 

This recipe was a hit with the whole family--even Eli!! I was shocked. He didn't ask what was in it, which was a good thing. If he knew about the cauliflower, the TVP, and the cashew cream, he probably wouldn't even want to taste it. But he ate a full bowl of it! It made a large enough batch for all of us to have a filling bowl and enough leftovers for Jerry to take to work.

Again, here is the link to the full recipe: 'Plant Power Couple' Vegan Chicken(less) Stew

1 comment:

  1. Perfect now that the weather is turning. Thank you.


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