It’s one of those things non-vegans often say to me, “you can never replicate things like steak.” Well until now I’d tried and failed on many occasions and I was just resigned to never being able to get anything that chewy and meaty. Even Veggie World’s mutton style pieces couldn’t quite match up. So how did I do this? I went back decades to what vegans used to eat before we had all this super processed imitation meat. I bought a bag of TVP for £1.89 from a hippie store in Pontypridd. TVP stands for textured vegetable protein and I brought the chunky stuff. I’ve had it before and it tasted awful, but with a long marinade and then slow cook this stuff loses it’s original flavour and soaks up all the beautiful flavours around it, much like meat would. Try this recipe for your Sunday lunch. You won’t be disappointed!
2 large red or white onions, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 bottle of vegan ale (I used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference brand as it is clearly labelled vegan.)
1/2 a bag of TVP
1 large tablespoon of tomato puree
2 tubes of Just Rol shortcrust pastry
1 teaspoon of cornflour
1 cube of vegetable stock, not mixed
Heat a pan and add a dash of oil.
Add the onion, garlic and chopped carrot and fry gently for a few minutes until they start to soften slightly.
Now add the TVP and tomato puree, making sure to stir the contents of the pan well so that all the flavours coat the TVP.
Crank up the heat and add half the bottle of ale to the pan, again stirring well. Allow some of the ale to boil off and then add the rest.
Crumble the vegetable cube stock into the pan, add the cornflour and parsley to taste.
The mixture should start to thicken after a few minutes so turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 15 minutes whilst you heat up the oven. Have a taste of your mixture after this time. The TVP won’t be entirely the way it should be at this point, but the sauce should taste right. If it’s too thick or or too strong, add some water and mix through. (The flavour you are looking for is sweet but ever so slighlt bitter. Add brown sugar if the ale taste is too strong.)
Line a pie or bread tin with the Just Rol pastry and fill the tin with your pie mixture. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing the pie lid on.
Now place in the oven on a medium heat for about 25 minutes or until you are satisfied with your crust.
Serve with new or mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.