February 6th, 2011

"Hamburger" Soup

I'm normally a pulses kind of girl. I like beans and lentils and split peas. I try not to depend too much on analogs. Though, I'm not opposed.

But somehow, for some weird reason, I had a craving for "hamburger" soup. So, I decided to make some. This recipe makes a lot. I've been fighting a sinus infection since last November and work has been so insanely stressful that I'm exhausted nearly all the time and disinclined to cook. So, I wanted a big batch of soup.

Also, let me add that I'm not really a cook that measures. Other than the onions, the TVP, which I measured, and the tinned tomatoes, I honestly have no idea how much of anything I used. I'm a bad, bad cook (in that respect).

Ingredients

3 medium/large onions, sliced
3+ garlic cloves, rough mince
6 celery stalks, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
2 cups of TVP
olive oil
red wine
veggie broth
1 large can of tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
small bag frozen peas
small bag frozen corn
1 small package of dry pasta (not a noodle variety)
salt and pepper to taste

Methodology:

1. Boil water for TVP. Follow directions on package.
2. Heat large soup pot. Add good amount (maybe 2 to 3 tablespoons) of olive oil to heated pot.
3. Add sliced onions to heated oil. Let brown. Add salt.
4. Once onions are well browned, add celery, garlic, carrot and herbs. Season to taste.
5. Once veggies are soft, add red wine. (I just used what red wine I had left over from my daughter's birthday party. Maybe about half a bottle or so.)
6. Add rehydrated TVP, veggie broth and tinned tomatoes to soup. Ensure you have enough broth to cover everything. At least a litre or two. The pasta will soak up quite a bit.
7. Once soup comes to a boil, add pasta and frozen veggies.
8. Once pasta is tender (or al dente), check seasoning, adjust accordingly and enjoy.

I'm not sure how I came to have this in my cupboard, but I have a small jar of gravy darkener. As this soup is supposed to be a dark brown, I added a bit of that along with the wine. I don't think it's necessary and could easily be omitted.

This soup is quite versatile and open to all kinds of substitutions. Barley or other grain instead of pasta. Zucchini, cauliflower, green beans and mushrooms could all be used instead of or in addition to the veggies I happened to have on hand.
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Vegan Patty Melt

Hello vegans,

Something crazy happened to me this morning. Last night I went to a bar that specializes in disgusting, greasy, clog-your-arteries-with-a-glance patty melts. This morning I woke up craving a patty melt. I don't know that I've even ever had one in my life. I'm not really sure what it is, but I know it consists of everything I would never eat. So how could I possibly make a vegan patty melt? I'm not much of a fake meat eater, but I do have a big bag of TVP in my cabinet, so I was hoping I could season that and somehow make it into a patty of sorts. I have all the normal vegan pantry staples of beans, nutritional yeast, Ener-G, and every spice known to man. I'm looking for some recommendations on how to make TVP into an acceptable patty and also recommendations for the best mock cheese for this type of situation. I have some white beans soaking, so it would be great if the cheez could be made out of white beans.

Thank you in advance!