Belgium, I ain’t got no Beef, Beer Stew
Of course I would come back from traveling with new food inspirations or at least the headspace to innovate again. Belgium was filled with chocolate, beer and roast beef. As a vegan I observed most of the cuisine but I’m not ashamed that I enjoyed beer after beer with a side of Belgium fries. I pondered what to make that would and could reminded me of this place. Hot chocolate and waffles is a given but my poor husband can attest that my waffles are rather terrible so I don’t want to risk it.
One of the dishes I tried and enjoyed was tomato soup in a bread bowl. I was surprised that it was vegan because it looked creamy (well, we did have to ask to have it served without added cheese and bacon) but I learned they use the inside of their bread bowls and puree it into the soup to make it creamy. Sold!
Today’s recipe was born out of desiring to try Belgium’s local beef stew, loving the good beer and learning the bread bowl technique. Note: If you want to do this completely you will have to find a bread in the size of a bowl, but you can serve it in regular bowls too (and use any vegan bread to make it creamy)
“I ain’t got no beef” is something I pick up off of social media, I love this punny turn of phrase for vegan products because it is both cheeky and to the point. Also Belgium is known to take a passive route in times of conflict so they really ain’t got no beef. I’ve shortened the name in the recipe below for formatting reasons, but feel free to call this soup as you will.
Belgium No Beef Beer Stew
300 g seitan beef meat substitute (I used Blue Deer arrachera seitan)
(or mushrooms are also great)
1 medium onion
2 celery sticks
5 cloves garlic
1 sweet potato
2 medium white potatoes
1 cup frozen green peas
1 t miso paste
1 T soy sauce
1 cup dark beer
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried parsley
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 liters of water
Bread (see notes above)
- In the pan with a very small amount of oil or water saute the Blue Deer, mushrooms or beef substitute of choice for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and reserve in a bowl for later.
- Saute the onion, celery and garlic in a little oil or water until fragrant and getting soft.
- Add the miso, soy sauce and dried spices as well as salt and pepper to taste and stir well for 1 minute.
- Immediately add 1 cup of beer and cook until the liquid starts to simmer
- Add all the root vegetables (do not add the beef substitute and the peas).
- Add 1-2 liters of water, enough to cover the vegetables in 2 inch of liquid.
- Simmer on medium low heat for 20-35 minutes until all the vegetables are soft, adding more water as needed and checking for salt.
- When the vegetables are cooked, remove 1 cup of the cooking liquid (it’s okay if you get some veggies) and reserve in a blender
- Take out the bread you have chosen for the bread bowls and carefully cut a round 1 inch piece in the top. Careful not to insert your knife too deep in the bread, you don’t want to cut any of the outside or bottom. Once you have a round hol cut, remove the crusty top and pull out the fluffy bread from the inside of the bowl. Add this bread to the liquid in the blender. (If you aren’t making bread bowls you can use about 1 up of any bread you have.) I don’t recommend using more than 2-4 bread centers. If you do add more water and veggies to this soup.
- Blend until smooth adding more water or cooking broth if needed.
- Return the bread mixture to the soup and reheat, add the reserved beef and frozen peas at this time. Heat until just before boiling and turn off.
- Let sit for 10 minutes and serve inside of a bread or any bowl you choose.
For clarity and the record I own and operate Blue Deer the seitan meat substitute used in the recipe above. I make all the products Blue Deer sells the slow way, by hand in small batches. This is my day job and how I can offer you ad free content here on the blog. The meat substitutes are available in health food stores and various restaurants across the Yucatan Peninsula. If you are ever in Mexico and want to try what I do, let me know and I’ll cook for you or send you somewhere you can try the products.