Recipe nine:

BOEUF A LA BOURGUIGNONNE  -  Vegan Beef Bourguignon  

Thick chunks of spiced vegan beef and vegetables, served with a hearty sauce and topped with homemade vegan egg noodles (noodle recipe here). 

1/2 Pack of Veggie Bacon
1 oz  dried shitake mushrooms - reconstituted
3 cups of red wine or chianti
3 cups of vegetable stock
8 oz crimini mushrooms
16 pearl onions
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp of thyme
2 tbsp flour
2 cloves of garlic - minced
1 bay leaf
parsley sprigs for decoration
2 packages gardein beef chuncks 

What will you be cooking for Valentine's Day dinner? Here is an idea for a chilly February day.
Since it's not quite spring, a warm hearty stew is perfect to combat cold weather, and there is not a more perfect recipe then Julia Child's classic beef stew.

*Chef's note: After numerous attempts we finally got the chicken seitan recipe correct and we will be posting that recipe here soon, as we are currently trying to perfect the beef seitan recipe we chose to use Gardein beef pieces for this recipe. (They are delicious and mimic beef flavor quite well.)

From top left to right: Vegan bacon, never mind the white onion, brown mushrooms, dry red wine, pearl onions, shiitake mushrooms, veggie stock, vegan beef cubes, carrots, tomato paste, olive oil, tapioca flour, garlic, bay leaf, parsley, thyme.

1. Start by doing all of your mise en place, slicing all of your vegetables, reconstituting the shitake mushrooms, slicing the veggie bacon into lardons... its good to have everything ready in advance. 

White Mushrooms
Vegan Bacon

2. In either a casserole dish or or a large 5qt saute pan, cook the bacon in 2tbsp of the oil until the bacon is browned and crispy then remove from the oil and set aside. Pre heat the oven to 450°.

Get it crispy!
2. Add the additional tbsp of oil to the casserole dish and heat until almost smoking, start adding the beef pieces 2 to 3 at a time browning the meat. Once the meat is browned remove it and set it aside. In the same oil cook the sliced vegetables until browned. 

3. Most of the oil should be absorbed by the meat at this point, but pour out any remaining oil that has not been absorbed before returning the meat and bacon to the casserole dish. Season meat and vegetables with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour and toss until the contents are coated in the flower. Put the casserole dish in the oven for 6 minutes, this will put a light crust on the meat.

4. While the meat is in the oven, saute the raw mushrooms and pearl onions with butter over medium heat. When the mushrooms are just soft, pour 1/2 cup of the stock and the water from the reconstituted shitake mushrooms over the mixture. Cover with a lid and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. At this point we transfered the contents of the casserole dish to the saute pan with the onions and mushrooms since there is no need to cook the meat in the oven. Next, added the wine, thyme, garlic, tomato paste and enough stock to just cover the contents of the saute pan. Cover the saute pan with a lid and let simmer for 30 minutes. Although we dont show it in the ingredient picture we added 1 tbsp of soy sauce to the wine before we added it to the saute pan for flavor. 

7. If your plan on using a side dish such as pasta or potatoes now would be a good time to start preparing them. Once the bourguignonne has sautéed for 30 minutes, pour the contents of the saute pan into a strainer over a metal bowl (or another saute pan) to separate the broth from the ingredients. Lower the oven to lowest setting possible, then pour the meat and vegetable back into casserole dish and place in the oven to keep warm.

8. The reason for transferring the sauce to another is to thicken the sauce up a bit before you serve it. You can either do this bay adding a cornstarch slurry (1tbsp corn starch mixed with 1 tbsp water) to the sauce or just cook it over high heat until it thickens. We cooked it over high heat to thicken it (this also concentrates the flavor). Now is also a good time to adjust the seasonings. 

9. The sauce is thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon.

*Chef's Note: A trick to tell if sauce is done is by dipping a spoon into it, coating the spoon with the sauce, then swiping the back of the spoon with a finger. When there is a solid line where you swiped your finger, the sauce is thick enough. If it gets too thick just add more stock.

10. The dish is now ready to serve, you can either put the veggies and the meat into a dish or bowl and pour the sauce over it or present it how you see fit. We tried something new by separating the meat and pearl onions from rest of the vegetables, then laying out the vegetable in a circular pattern on a plate. (see above pic) Next we ladeled the sauce over the vegetables, put some vegan egg noodles in the center of the plate, then arranged some meat and onions next to the pasta.

The stew was warm, hearty, and delicious. A must try!

*****Happy Valentines Day everyone*****