Beef/tvp mixture for recipes calling for browned ground beef (like chili, spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, tacos…)
2 lbs ground beef (80/20) optional (read “variations” part of recipe)
2 cups dry tvp (looks like grape nuts cereal, and is available in most health food stores, and some groceries)
1 (15 to 16 oz) can chicken broth (or 2 cups of hot water with 2 bouillon cubes dissolved in it)
Seasonings of your choosing (these are mine)
1 medium to large onion, diced
1 medium to large bell pepper diced (or a couple tablespoons dehydrated bell pepper)
2 medium stalks celery, diced fine (or a tablespoon dehydrated celery or celery flakes)
Garlic powder, or granulated garlic
Salt (I use chicken soup base – like powdered bouillon or “better than bouillon“ which is a paste, but regular salt is ok, also)
1-2 tsp oil (or if you’ve got a nonstick pan, you can use a spray of cooking pray or less oil)
In large Dutch oven, over medium heat, sauté vegetables (onion, bell pepper, celery) until soft. Add dry tvp and stir. You’re not wanting to toast or brown the tvp, just allow it to absorb any liquid from the vegetables, and pick up flavor from them.
Pour mixture into a bowl.
In same Dutch oven, that is now empty, brown ground beef. Add in tvp mixture about a ½ cup at a time, as beef starts to brown (the dry tvp, will actually help prevent the ground beef from clumping). Break up clumps, and add tvp as you go. When beef is browned.
Pour chicken broth or boillon into mixture and add garlic, salt (or powdered chicken soup base) and pepper and any other seasonings you like.
Allow mixture to cool before preparing for fridge or freezer
Put mixture into freezer bags or freezer containers. I use Ziploc freezer bags. Make sure there’s room in container or bag to break up mixture as it freezes. Every 20 minutes or so, shake container, make sure you hear that the meat is loose. If it’s clumping, “moosh” bag to break up pieces, or open freezer container and stir with a fork or spoon. Repeat until mixture is frozen. Pushing the extra air out of Ziploc bag will keep mixture fresher, so do this once it’s frozen, and each time you take mixture out of the bag. In freezer containers, if there’s a lot of air room, take a piece of plastic wrap or tin foil and press against the surface of the mixture, to protect it from air (and thus freezer burn). Scoop out in portions (about a slightly rounded ¼ cup).
This doesn’t have to be an exact recipe. Only the ratio of liquid to tvp has to remain the same – 1 cup of liquid to 1 cup of tvp. The quantities of the other ingredients can be just guesstimated. You can add more ground beef (or less) without having to change the recipe. It also doesn’t have to be made in such big batches, and it can be made in even bigger batches, as long as you have a big enough pot to brown the meat in.
You can omit the beef entirely. In fact, if you’d like to see if you like plain tvp, Omit the brown step and go on to Add broth step. If you like it, you have a completely meatless (except for the broth, but you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth, or hot water and other seasonings). Taste. If you’re not happy with it, you can go back and do the brown step (it doesn’t matter, in other words whether you do the brown step before or after the add broth step.
I hope my explanation isn’t confusing, but this is a really flexible recipe, so instead of a “true recipe” I tend to think of it as general guidelines.