Vegetarian ham flavor for soups and stews
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Lightlife, Tofurkey and Yves make fake eat products that can be used as substitutes. We use a Canadian bacon substitute in a beer braised collards recipe found on this site and it works fine. If you don't want to use something that processed, try frying up bits of smoked fish -- smoked salmon is often used as a ham alternative in eggs Benedict.
I meant fake meat,not fake eat -- auto correct strikes.
Let's deconstruct how a ham is flavored in the first place. Ham is made by soaking the pork (usually a shoulder roast) in a salt brine and then smoked. A combination of the salty/smoky flavor will give you the ham flavor you're looking for. Smoked salt might be a good place to start for this one.
Some people use Marmite because it has a salty "meaty" taste -- it's a yeast product usually used as a spread in Britain.
Also, Untamed Feasts makes a smoked dried mushroom that I swear to God tastes exactly like bacon. http://untamedfeast.com/products-page/product-category/877-2/
I completely agree with msmely. If you are trying to deliver salt, smoke and fat, possibly in distinct colourful pieces, this can be done using combinations of other ingredients.
Smoked salt would have been my first suggestion too. Sprinkled over the top when serving. (Cut back on salt in cooking). Other amazing smoky ingredients include smoke-dried tomatoes, smoked onions, smoked garlic, smoked red peppers, chipotle peppers, smoked almonds. The smoked almonds, garlic and chipotle can be bought. The others are more rare. If you really like smoke, home smoking is the way to go. Smoked onions are amazing.
A real hero ingredient that may be of interest to you is smoked paprika, either Hungarian or Spanish (pimentón). I prefer Spanish. It’s the stuff that gives chorizo it’s distinct flavour. Fry with the garlic before you add the liquid to your soup/stock. The smell is fantastic! There's 3 varieties - I use all of them, on their own or in combo.
Here's an idea - soak sun-dried tomatoes, or dried red peppers or dried mushrooms for 10mins in hot water. Drain. Use the soak water for stock. Pat dry and fry with smoked paprika and oil. Use this to finish your soup/stew for serving, including the glorious orange oil.
Also take a look at this: http://www.sciencentral.com/video/2009/03/02/make-mushrooms-taste-like-bacon/. I’ve not tried it myself, but these people have:
and I like their cooking.
Substitute butter or oil+butter for the ham fat to complete the flavour profile.
I find Marmite more beefy than hammy – but everyone is different. I have to confess, I don't actually like my veg to taste of meat, but I like smoky, salty things as much as the next person.