For this month's recipe, we went with a tried and true dinner favorite. This elegant dish is easy to make, yet full of flavor and is equally impressive for a candlelit dinner for two, or shared at a dinner party. Here the classic is recreated as a vegan dish with just the right amount of vegetables, accented by the earthy richness of the porcinis, all of which is enhanced by the umami of wine.
Seitan and Mushroom Bourguignon [Vegan]
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices vegan bacon, chopped
- 12 ounces seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated (see note)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 cup dry red wine (Rhone or Pinot Noir)
- 1 cup vegetable broth, more if needed
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add the bacon, and stir until cooked, about 2 minutes.
- Toss the seitan with the flour, salt, and pepper and add to the saucepan.
- Cook until the seitan is browned, about 5 minutes, stirring to cook all sides.
- Stir in the onion, pepper, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic.
- Cook about 3 minutes, until fragrant.
- Add the brandy to deglaze the pan and cook about 3 minutes.
- Add the wine, broth, tomato paste, and bay leaf.
- Partially cover and decrease the heat to low. Simmer about 30 minutes.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and cook about 4 minutes, until they start to release their juices.
- Add the mushrooms and any juice to the sauce pan and cook 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve.
To rehydrate porcini mushrooms, heat 1 cup water to boiling. Add the mushrooms to the water and let soak about 20 minutes, or until softened. Drain off the water and rinse the mushrooms well in a strainer to remove any dirt. Chop the mushrooms before using. If you would like to keep the soaking water to use in another dish, pour it through a coffee filter to remove any dirt. It can be stored in the refrigerator in a container for 3 days. It would have been easy to opt for the same wine that was used in the dish, and that would have been a good decision. Instead, we chose a bigger bolder wine, to see if the dish would stand up to it. It did. 2010, Molly Dooker, "The Boxer" (Shiraz, Australia) When the Boxer first hit the stores five or six years back nobody knew about it, and they were relatively inexpensive. We saw at least twenty pallets of Molly Dookers at a huge Chicago store their second year of release. But as time passes and profits must rise, this became a $30.00 bottle, which is competitive, but certainly not the $19.99 it used to be. So In the past when we'd get cases, now we'll buy a bottle or two for old time's sake. The Boxer is big, big, big, so open it early and give it air before drinking. An hour or two is not out of the question. In the old days it was a bit more finesse-ey, now it's just BIG. Because it's a high alcohol wine, it has a soft texture and a bit of a palate burn on the finish. This year's Boxer was like being dunked in a kiddy pool of black cherry goodness and held under until the moment you run out of breath. And then dunked again six times in a row. The wine wrested for domination of the dish, the alcohol cutting through the savory seitan and then being saturated and complemented by the rich thickness of the bourguignon's flavors. Back and forth, twenty rounds, and in the end we were the only ones left standing.