Comfort Food For A Cold Winter Night
I don’t know why, but somehow winter calls for comfort food more than summer does. And this entirely plant-based Mushroom Bourguignon is seriously soothing. Deeply flavored and with a hint of smokiness. And unlike many other comfort foods, this one doesn’t take an entire Sunday afternoon to prepare. It is done in under an hour and the majority of that time it is just quietly simmering away minding its own business.
A classic Bourguignon, or Burgundy stew, is a French slow-simmered stew. It is traditionally made with beef braised in a red wine infused beef broth. In addition, it usually also contains carrots, onions, garlic and fresh herbs. These herbs usually include a classic bouquet garni made up of thyme, parsley, and bay leaves. It is traditionally garnished with mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon and served with rich and creamy mashed potatoes. In other words a pretty heavy dish! In my version, I use mushrooms instead of beef and smoked tofu and smoked paprika in lieu of the bacon. The meaty texture of mushrooms and tofu works beautifully as a meat substitute in this plant-based take on the French bistro classic.
A classic Beef Bourguignon is thickened with white wheat flour added after the meat has been sautéed in butter or bacon fat and before adding the liquids. This method works well in dishes containing a lot of fat. It is less efficient in lighter 100% plant-based dishes like this one. As an alternative, I suggest using cornstarch and water added at the end if you prefer a thicker stew.
Serve it with a light Cauliflower & Potato Mash to keep the classic combination or give it a little tweak by serving it with sautéed lentils, rice or simple boiled potatoes. Either way you are in for a treat!
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil or 2 tablespoons vegetable stock.
- 250 g mushrooms. Brushed clean, ends trimmed and the caps quartered. I usually use a mix of brown button mushrooms and shiitakes.
- 3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1 cm / 1/2 inch thick slices
- 2-3 celery stalks, sliced into chunks
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 100 g smoked tofu, diced (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 large tomato, chopped, or 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 4 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- Salt & pepper to taste
- A handful kale, chopped.
- A tablespoon corn starch mixed with 2 tablespoons water, optional
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil or stock and add all the prepared vegetables along with the smoked tofu and the garlic. Sauté for a couple of minutes before adding the wine, water, chopped tomato, thyme, smoked paprika and bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 35 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the nutritional yeast and season to taste with salt and pepper; then stir in the fresh kale and serve.
- If the stew is too thin: The nutritional yeast will help thicken the liquid a bit but if you prefer a thicker stew simply add a little of the cornstarch water and bring to a boil to allow it to thicken. Start with a couple of teaspoons and add more until you get the desired consistency. Make sure to bring it to a boil before adding more as the cornstarch will only thicken properly when brought to a boil.