This hearty stew has everything you love about beef stew, but without the beef! It has large chunks of potato, carrot, celery, and onion, and portabella mushrooms stand in for the beef. Garlic, paprika, and fresh rosemary provide excellent flavor.
1½ large yellow or white onions, chopped into ¾-inch pieces
3 ribs celery, chopped into ¾-inch pieces
3 medium carrots, sliced lengthwise and cut into ¾-inch pieces
2 portabella mushrooms (about ½ pound), cut into ¾-inch pieces
1½ tablespoon finely chopped garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
5 cups water
2 pounds white potatoes (I use about 3 large Yukon Gold), cut into ¾-inch pieces
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1½ cups green peas (if frozen, thaw first)
½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Ground black pepper to taste
1. Heat a large soup pot on high with 1 tablespoon of water. When the water begins to sputter, add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently as the edges of the onion browns slightly, and adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking.
2. Stir in the mushrooms and garlic, and continue to cook while stirring for an additional 5 minutes, adding water as needed.
3. Add the 5 cups of water, potatoes, tomato paste, dried Italian herbs, and paprika. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a low boil. Stir in the rosemary and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peas, and cook for 5 minutes more, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
4. Place 2 cups of the stew (broth and vegetables) into a blender, and blend under very smooth. Stir this back into the pot to thicken the stew, and stir in the parsley. Serve with a few twists of ground black pepper and, if you like, add a small sprig of rosemary as garnish.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8 (makes about 10 cups)
Peeling the potatoes: I like to peel my potatoes before cooking them, but you can also leave the skins on.
Fresh rosemary: Fresh rosemary is wonderful in this stew, but if you only have dried, use ½ teaspoon.
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