The quartered mushrooms are the replacement for the beef chunks, so if you or your kids have not yet grown to love mushrooms, you can leave them out. Add more potatoes, celery, and carrots to make it heartier.
The base of this stew is perfect. Warm, savory. Comforting.
It can be made by simmering all of the ingredients in a stockpot on the stove, or in a crockpot all day. Or if you are like me you don't think about dinner till about 4:00 p.m. and want to just throw it all in a pressure cooker (mine is electric from Costco for $69!) and be done with it. Only one pan is dirty - easy clean up.
Let's just take a moment to recap some of the reasons as to WHY we are not adding beef to this dish.
"You know that it is not merely excess fat that causes disease. It is not merely eating calorie-empty food that causes disease. And it is not merely the high consumption of animal foods such as dairy, meat, chicken, and fish that leads to premature death in America. These factors are important, but what is most crucial is what we are missing in our diets by not eating enough produce. Let's take a look at some more of the reasons why plant foods are so protective and essential for human health."
"To illustrate the powerful nutrient density of green vegetables, let us compare the nutrient density of steak with the nutrient density of broccoli and other greens."
"Now, which food has more protein - broccoli or steak? You were wrong if you thought steak."
"Steak has only 6.4 grams of protein per 100 calories and broccoli has 11.1 grams, almost twice as much."
"...Most people think animal products are necessary for a diet to include adequate protein. I am merely illustrating how easy it is to consume more than enough protein while at the same time avoiding risky, cancer-promoting effects of too many animal products. Consuming more plant protein is also the key to achieving safe and successful (and might I add sustainable!) weight loss." ~ Dr. Joel Fuhrman, "Eat To Live."
(Please read this book. If you can't, I will try to continue to include snippets of golden info on here, but knowledge is power and if you understand the WHY, then you will actually DO.)
Can I just say something? Your body does not actually crave/need animal protein. When you start to eliminate or reduce animal proteins from your diet, you may experience withdrawals. You may get symptoms such as headaches, sleeplessness, or even light-headedness. This is a detoxifying/cleansing process because your body is addicted. It doesn't need animal protein for health, just as we don't need caffeine or drugs. It's an addiction. Your body is actually addicted to an addictive substance. How many times can I fit the word ADDICTED in to this paragraph?! You don't need it! Free yourself from this substance. Find replacements and discontinue buying and cooking and consuming and feasting on dead animal flesh. Let the detoxifying happen, and get your protein from plants.
Okay. Now that I got that out.
Back to Hearty Brown Stew!
Adapted from Mary McDougall's recipe in "The New McDougall Cookbook."
2 onions, sliced or chopped (I only used one)
1 whole bunch of celery, thickly sliced, don't discard the leaves! -- They add so much flavor!
2-4 carrots, scrubbed and thickly sliced
3-6 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips (optional)
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced or put through your garlic press
2 cups water
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, tamari, or Bragg's liquid aminos
1/2 cup tomato juice, or 1 can of V8 vegetable juice
1/2 to 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (depending on how much you like ginger)
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon paprika
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot, mixed with 1/2 cup cold water
Using a food processor will greatly decrease the preparation time for the vegetables.
Combine all of the ingredients, except the corn starch or arrowroot mixture, in a large pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender. Add the cornstarch or arrowroot mixture to the stew. Stir until thickened.