Thursday, November 18, 2010

Incredibly Yummy Vegan New Mexican Green Chile Stew

Green Chile
What the heck is green chile stew?  If it's not New Mexico's state dish already, it should be.  It's New Mexico's answer to the tradtional beef and potato stew.  At its core, it is just a beef and potato stew, but instead of the typical pot roast vegetables like carrots and celery, you have green chile.
As far as green chile is concerned, I am not talking about green chile in the can, which you often see in stores around the US.  (By the way, I am not putting the "Perfect Pantry" -- which I typoed at first by missing the "r". Serious Freudian slip there -- down.  They just actually had a picture of canned green chile I could use!)  I am talking about frozen green chile, which is all the taste without all the fuss.  Jarred green chile is usually better than canned too.  Canned green chile is often packaged with citric acid, which changes the flavor and texture.  In some cases, I actually like it, but it would make the soup a bit tangier than it's supposed to be.
Also, if you'd like to know how much heat green chiles have, well, it varies and they're packed according to how hot they are.  They come in several heat ratings:  mild, medium, hot, and extra hot.  Generally, they aren't a bell pepper, but the hottest green chile is not as hot as the hottest jalapeño.  Varieties for green chile include Anaheim, Big Jim, and several other varieties.  Check out this page from New Mexico State University for details on the varieties used.
If you live in New Mexico, you probably already know that you can find containers of green chile in your freezer case at just about any grocery store.  Here in Albuquerque, it wasn't long before Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage started carrying them in addition to the regular grocery stores that have been carrying them for as long as I can remember.  Chances are, if the store doesn't carry it, the customers ask the store to start stocking it.  Which, if you are having a hard time finding it where you live, is exactly what you should do!  Ask your local favorite store if they will special order it or even stock it for you!

A bowl of delicious green chile stew

Vegan Green Chile Stew
So now that we have a good idea of what green chiles are and how wonderful and awesome I think they are, let's dig in and make some green chile stew!  Mine's simmering and filling the house with warm awesomeness as I type.

Ingredients needed to make green chile stew.
1 ~13 ounce container of frozen green chile.  (If you did not thaw it, it's not a tragedy.)
3 large potatoes
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
Meat substitute resembling beef (see details in recipe if you're not sure what I mean.)
3 Tbsps of powdered vegetarian vegetable broth, "chicken" broth or "beef" broth*
Canola oil
6 cups of water*
6 quart soup pot with cover

*Instead of the broth powder and water, you can just use 6 cups of a vegetarian broth like those from Imagine Foods.

The "meat substitute resembling beef" can be just about any meat substitute. I highly recommend TVP, or frozen soy crumbles like Boca Crumbles or Gardein Beefless Tips. This go-round, I used the beefless tips. I typically use the Boca Crumbles.
Chop the potatoes into quarter inch or smaller cubes.  Heat roughly 1-3 tablespoons of canola oil in a nice big frying pan.  The oil will be thinner and may appear swirly when ready.  Don't let the oil smoke!  Add the potatoes and sautee until brown.  Add the potatoes to the soup pot.
Dice onions and sautee until almost clarified.  Meanwhile, crush the garlic and add to the sautee pan.  Sautee the mixture until clarified but not brown.  Add the mixture to the soup pot.
If the meat substitute is a frozen or refrigerated product like the crumbles or beefless tips, sautee it until it's nice and brown.  This will prevent your meat substitute from becoming mushy in the soup.  If you're using TVP, you can just toss it into the pot.  The broth will do all the hydrating you need.
Dump the green chile into the pot.  Put in the powdered broth, toss in the water, stir generously, cover and turn the heat to high until it boils vigorously.  Now, turn the heat down to low and let the pot simmer for an hour or two. As you let the pot simmer, be sure to stir on occasion.  What you're trying to do is break down the potatoes so that the starch thickens the soup.  If you're successful at this, and you're not stirring the pot, the bottom will burn.
Once this is all done, enjoy your green chile stew!  Serve in a bowl beside fresh, hot flour (flour, not corn)  tortillas spread with melted Earth Balance.  I hope you love it as much as I do!
Heat yourself a tortilla to go with the green chile stew


    I LOVE your green chile stew!!

    "...Serious Freudian slip there...".
    Now THAT made me LAUGH!!!

  2. not to be a negative nancy, as this recipe is good, but being from new mexico and eating green chile stew alot my entire life, this does not resemble authentic new mexican green chile stew. Real green chile stew has pork, right. so using "beef" substitutes doesn't do it for me. and ive never found a vegan pork substitute i thought tasted good. anyway good recipe, i personally use a simular mix of ingredites, but just brown small chunks of tofu instead of the beef substitute as its cheaper. and i use more green chile and less onions. everything else is the same almost. Green Chile is the best. THanks

  3. Chris! Thank you for your comments. I've spent over half my life in New Mexico and was born in Southeastern New Mexico. I have to agree with you on genuine green chile stew using pork instead of beef. About the only substitute I've ever found that even comes close to shredded pork like you would find in green chile stew was a Chinese pork substitute that tasted strongly of anise. However, I want to disagree with you on throwing out the baby with the bath water and just going with chunks of browned tofu. The beef substitutes, such as the Gardein one shown in this post, actually come closer to the texture of pork than chunks of browned tofu. On top of that, remember that the beef substitute is not really beef at all. If one day we figure out Gardein Beef chunks can be ground up to make an awesome cookie dough powder, we should use it for that purpose. As vegans, we approximate the traditions we love, but where animals were used, we don't keep those traditions.

  4. Good stuff! Fake beef?, fake pork?, I substitute a pinch or corriander and a little less cumin and its great. Viva la neuva traditiones!

  5. my mouth is watering reading your recipe. off to give it a try!