Tuesday, December 2, 2008
This is a tricky photo. Does it look like really amazing vegetarian Bourguingonne or does it look like, well, something your pet threw up? If it looks like the latter to you, I deeply apologize because this dish is truly delicious. If it looks like the former, and if you are up for a challenge, I give you Seitan Bourguingonne.
This is not an "everyday" dinner. Reserve this for a dinner party or for when your favorite vegan comes into town. It isn't difficult by any stretch, there are just a lot of steps. But all of those steps (marinating and roasting ingredients separately) lend this stew amazing complexity. I have served it exclusively to carnivores and they are always amazed at how incredibly flavorful it is and how satisfying.
Let's talk about seitan. Seitan is made from wheat and it has a very distinctive "meaty" texture - that is, very firm and kind of chewy. You can usually find it where you would find tofu in your grocery store or, if you have the time, you can make it yourself. (I have never made it myself...) It is very high in protein and very low in fat and really lends itself to dishes like these. When you take it out of the package it may remind you of dog food, but please do not let that dissuade you - it's an amazing product.
The original recipe calls for an alarming amount of soy sauce which I have changed in the below version - even for me it was just too salty. Also, I have noted that which can be made in advance. The author says you can freeze the whole stew for several months and it will be just as good as the day you make it. I made this with Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips (adapted from the same cookbook) and Salad with Pomegranates and Walnuts and a Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette.
Adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan
If you have three racks in your oven, you can roast the seitan, the peppers, and the mushrooms all at the same time.
1/4 cup shoyu or other soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 tsp. mellow barley miso
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup mirin (sweet Japanese sake)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
3/4 lb. seitan, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
3 cups boiling water
2 medium red bell peppers, stems, seeds and membranes removed, cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, preferably shiitakes
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 28 oz. can plum tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pour the shoyu and stock into a medium bowl. Add the miso and whisk until evenly blended. Add 1/2 cup of the wine, the mirin, vinegar, canola oil, and garlic and whisk together until well combined, then stir in the bay leaf. Immediately set aside 3/4 cup of the marinade, and pour the remainder over the seitan cubes. Marinate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the porcinis in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Remove the seitan from the marinade and arrange it in a shallow baking dish in a single layer. Pour enough marinade over the seitan to cover halfway. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until most of the marinade has been absorbed.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss the red peppers with 2 tbsp. of the reserved marinade. Spread on a parchment-covered baking sheet for 40 minutes, turning once.
While the peppers roast, remove the stems from the shiitakes and cut into 1 inch chunks. Place the shiitakes in a bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the reserved marinade. Put on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, turning once. (DN: The seitan, peppers, and mushrooms can be made 1 day in advance and stored all together in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.)
Remove the porcinis from the water and give them a rough chop. Reserve the liquid.
Warm the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes or until soft.
Add the remaining 2 cups of wine, turn the heat to high, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and their juice, breaking them with a spoon. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the roasted peppers, mushrooms, and the seitan. Add the chopped porcini and 2 cups of the soaking liquid, being careful not to add the grit at the bottom of the bowl.
Add the peas, salt to taste, a generous sprinkle of pepper, and a generous sprinkle of cayenne. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes to cook the peas and let the flavors marry.