A lot of people shy away from bourguignon because they think it is hard to make. Yes, there are a number of steps, however the steps are all simple. Bourguignon hails from the Burgundy region of France and was traditionally a peasant stew made with root vegetables and wine to tenderize the cheap tough beef parts. It may be peasant food, but it a beautiful and rich stew that has been transformed during the last century as an elegant dish.
I've been making bourguignon for a good 15 years—initially with beef—and when I went vegan I decided to change the recipe to make mushrooms the star. I also love to make mine with brussel sprouts, but you could certainly substitute with another hardy vegetable if you aren't a fan of them. Brussel sprouts braise well and really mellow with the long cooking time.
Bourguignon is traditionally made with burgundy wine. I tend to use any pinot noir I have on hand although I had a bottle of my favorite montepulciano red wine from Italy for this week's blog—costing me a whole $11.99. Whatever you buy, make sure it is a red wine that you like to drink as my recipe calls for 1 bottle of red wine, less one glass for drinking. If you are a hard core vegan then you know that most wines aren't truly vegan due to the filtration process. Shop according to your needs to find the right wine for you.
Now that your glass of wine is poured, let's get started with the mushroom bourguignon. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Start by prepping your vegetables. Dice your onions, cube your unpeeled carrots and cut up your fennel bulb. Fennel bulbs can scare people, but they are delicious and worth the little bit of effort it takes to cube them.
Cut the frond antennas off and from the top, cut it right down the middle to the bottom. From each half, now cut the bottom core out with a wedge cut and then slice and dice to get medium sized cubes. Mince your garlic and fresh herbs while you are at it. And finally trim the ends of your brussel sprouts and cut them lengthwise down the middle, or in quarters if they are extremely large. This is also a good time to pull your vegan butter out of the fridge for your last step. You want it to still be solid, but very soft. I tend to put mine in a small glass bowl and set it next to the oven so that it softens via the incidental heat from the oven.
Using your big-ass enamel (oven safe) pan, saute the onions, carrots, fennel, salt and pepper for 5-7 minutes, then add the garlic and fresh minced thyme and rosemary and saute for an additional minute.
Add the brussel sprouts, tomato paste, vegetable broth, wine, and more salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil and then transfer to the oven for an hour and 15 minutes.
This leaves you with plenty of time to start a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, or sit down with a good book and finish your glass of wine. When you have about 20 minutes left on the timer, prep your final two steps to the dish. Take that small bowl of softened butter and with a fork, cut in the gluten-free flour (essentially smash the two together). This is a great little secret to thicken your soups. Set this aside.
Rinse your mushrooms, destem them and slice them in large chunks. In a large skillet, saute them with a little vegan butter, olive oil, salt and pepper, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
As soon as the timer goes off, remove the enamel pan from the oven and place on the stove top. Be very careful while working with this pan on the stove top! You just pulled it out of the oven—that baby is hot! I always have my oven mits next to the pan to remind me to pick them up and use them to take the cover off or grab the handle. Over low heat, uncover (with your oven mit) and mix in the butter/flour mixture and stir to completely incorporate it into the stew. Add the sauteed mushrooms and bring to a low boil for 10 minutes until the bourguignon thickens.
And it is now ready to serve. So you see, although there are numerous steps to a bourguignon, they are all really quite simple. Peasant food was very simple and inexpensive. Yes, mushrooms are costly now days, but no where near as expensive as beef. You can buy a good bottle of red wine for $10, add another $15 for the other ingredients, and you have a simple, yet elegant meal for 4 - 6 people for $25. In our home, we prefer to ladle ours over vegan mashed potatoes and serve with a gluten-free baguette. By adding these elements, you can easily feed 6 or more people—or just the two of you with plenty of left-overs for the week!
Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 sweet onions, diced
4 - 5 large carrots, large cubed
1 small fennel bulb, cubed
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarse ground pepper
2 - 3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut length-wise in half or quarters
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. coarse black pepper
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 c. vegetable stock
1 bottle red wine (less one glass for drinking)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. earth balance butter
10 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced thick
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced thick
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
2 tbsp. earth balance butter, softened (still formed but very warm and pliable)
3 tbsp. all purpose gluten-free flour
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a large enamel soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, fennel bulb and salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 - 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the minced garlic and herbs and sauté another minute, continuing to stir. Add the brussel sprouts, salt, pepper, tomato paste, vegetable stock and the wine. Cover, leaving a bit open, and bring to a boil. Cover completely with the lid and transfer to the oven to bake at 250 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes.
When you have 15 minutes left on the timer for the soup, on the stove top sauté the mushrooms in a skillet with olive oil and vegan butter, salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often.
In a small bowl, mix the softened vegan butter and gluten-free flour together with a fork. Set aside.
Remove the bourguignon from the oven and set it on the stove top over low heat. Be very careful of the pot since it is hot, hot, hot from being in the oven. Add the butter/flour mixture to the bourguignon, stirring to incorporate completely. Then add the sautéed mushrooms. Bring to a low boil, reducing the heat if it boils too hard, and cook for 10 minutes as the soup thickens.
Serve as is or ladle over mashed potatoes.