"'Ron, cheer up,' said Hermione, pushing a dish of stew toward him. 'You heard what Professor McGonagall said.' Ron spooned stew onto his plate and picked up his fork but didn't start" (Prisoner of Azkaban 110).
It's always intrigued me that stew is in the same category as soup, but doesn't really have much liquid to it. And the broth that exists is really more like thin gravy. Anyway, I was never a big fan of stew when I was a kid, but maybe I'll be a bigger fan of a vegetarian version.
There are a couple different recipes for stew in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Most of them have a whole lot of ingredients, and each one is very different from the others. I'm sure they're delicious, but today I opted instead to find a recipe that kind of combines those other recipes into one simple stew. And I found it at bbcgoodfood.com, so surely it is British to the core. I changed the ingredient amounts so that you can make it with just one bag of vegetarian "beef" instead of 2.5. Today we shall make Stout Stew with Carrots!
You Will Need:
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 bag (8 or 9 oz) Gardein Beefless Tips
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2.5 carrots, chopped
1/2 Tbs flour
250mL (1/2 a can) Guiness
1/2 a No-Beef Boullion Cube (Though after tasting the finished product, I might recommend using a whole cube, even though they're bigger than normal cubes!)
Pinch of sugar
1 Bay Leaf
Small spring of Thyme (or a little shake of ground thyme, which is what I did)
Mashed potatoes or parsnips, for serving
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet (with a lid! ...or I guess you could use tinfoil).
3. Scatter over the flour and quickly stir so it doesn't burn. Immediately add the beefless tips. Stir occasionally, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so the flour doesn't burn.
4. After a few minutes (I kind of played it by ear, since vegetarian "meat" doesn't really have to cook to a specific temperature), add the Guiness and crumble in the boullion cube. Season with a pinch of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. "Tuck in" (such a British phrase, I love it) the bay leaf and thyme and bring to a simmer.
5. Give one more good stir, cover the skillet and place in the oven. This is the time to make your mashed potatoes/parsnips!
6. When your mash is ready, pull the stew out of the oven and serve over a mound of your chosen mashed veggie.