Vegetable Bourguignon – sounds ridiculous but it is great!!

Vegetable Bourguignon – sounds ridiculous but it is great!!

Our youngest daughter has been a French citizen for more than 20 years and when I said I was going to cook a vegetable Bourguignon her reply showed the initial contempt one might expect from a French woman!  The term for the brilliant and well known dish is however “Boeuf Bourguignon” not just “Bourguignon”. So if you can have a Boeuf Bourguignon you can have a “something else Bourguignon”.  At least that was my argument! The ‘Bourguignon’ in the title describes a dish from Burgundy.  It also suggests that the wine from the area makes up an important part of the dish.

Typically, a Bourguignon will contain button mushrooms, small whole onions or shallots and red wine from the region.  It is based on a ‘mirepoix’ of carrots, onion and celery, equivalent to the Italian sofrito.  A Boeuf Bourguignon also has beef and some cured pork lardon.   So a plant based Bourguignon needed all these components except for the Beef and the lardon.   The vegetables need to be handled slightly differently too as they are moving from being understudies to being the star of the show!  We decided to use a recipe from the UK vegetable supplier ‘Boxxfresh’ as the basis for the dish.  It worked really well with just a couple of tweaks for cooking on the BGE.  Subsequently we made a few minor changes and it is that recipe we have here.

One of the problems I have always had with plant based meals that mirror a well known meat based dish is the lack of the meat texture.  I find this much more of an issue than taste differences.  To address this we added some additional items to bring a little more texture compared with the original recipe (which you can find here).  So we added some turnip/swede and kept the root vegetable chunks much larger than you would normally do if using meat.  We also added some dried wild mushrooms including porcini as these offer a different texture from the fresh mushrooms.

One other twist was the the use of some porcini stock cubes we had acquired in Italy last time we were there.  Because we were cooking in the Big Green Egg though we reduced the overall volume of liquid from the original recipe as there is less water loss when cooking on the EGG.

We lit the Big Green Egg whilst preparing the vegetables and let it come to a temperature of around 180C.  Meanwhile we prepped the shallots, garlic, carrots, celery, celeriac and turnip.  We took a good handful of the dried mushrooms and just covered with cold water.  This was left for 5-10 mins and poured away (it is good for removing any grit etc). The mushrooms are then covered again and left to rehydrate for around 20-30 minutes. We also used around 250g of button or chestnut mushrooms in this dish.  If they are small I would suggest keeping them whole as it gives a different texture than when sliced.  The dried mushrooms are sliced anyway.  If they are large though, cut into halves or quarters.  We also had a few Shiitake mushrooms and a couple of King Oyster mushrooms so these went in too.  When the Egg was up to temperature we added the fresh mushrooms to a dry sauté pan and began to toast them until they took on a little colour. At this point we added a little oil and continued to sauté conventionally (this seems to give a more firm texture). After a minute or 2, we squeezed out the water from the dried mushrooms that we were rehydrating (reserving the water).  These were also added to the sauté pan and cooked until they all took on some colour.  The mushrooms were then set to one side.

The rest of the vegetables were then added to the pan with some more oil and cooked until they too started to colour and to begin to soften.  This is a good time to add some salt and pepper.  At this point we swapped our skillet for the Dutch Oven that we were going to use for the rest of the cook.

The partially cooked vegetables and the tomato puree were then tossed in the Dutch Oven until all vegetables were coated with the puree.  This was then left to cook for another 5 minutes or so, once at temperature.  The tomato puree will undergo a Maillard reaction (the same as meat does when roasted) adding to the overall intensity of the tastes.
Then it was a matter of adding back the browned mushrooms and the red wine.  It is worth just pausing at this point to make sure you drive off the alcohol from the wine before adding the stock, Tamari and thyme.  This is also a good point to test the initial seasoning.  Then give it a stir and leave for at least an hour cooking indirectly on the BGE.

This dish like some of our others can be prepared indoors or on the EGG.  It definitely benefits from the sort of slow ‘lid off’ simmer for the cooking from this point that you get on the BGE
All that is really left to do now is to check the cooking over the next hour or so and decide how you are going to plate it.  In that time the whole dish will take on a lovely darker and much richer colour!!

Cook for long enough for the vegetables to soften but to still have texture and enough character to bite through when serving.  Our favourite combination is to serve with a baked potato (done at the same time on the EGG) but also works well with rice, or couscous.
Don’t let the absence of meat put you off ………………………….
…………………………… give it a go!!
Variations:
If you are just wanting to reduce your meat intake and not eliminate it the addition of a very small amount of meat, a small handful of lardons or perhaps 100g of beef works really well with this dish especially in terms of texture.  It also works well with a home made meat stock too (and with those small proportions we can still think of it as ‘plant based’ if you chose!!)

Vegetable Bourguignon

March 3, 2021
: 6
: 30 min
: 2 hr
: Straightforward

The big tastes you would expect from a Bourguignon - but plant based

By:

Ingredients
  • 4-5 banana shallots - or 12-14 small round shallots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 500g of carrots
  • 500 g celeriac
  • Some turnip or swede
  • 250g mushrooms (button or chestnut)
  • Any other mushrooms such as shiitake or Oyster
  • Large handful of dried mushrooms (ideally with at least some porcini)
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 750ml Mushroom or vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/3 bottle red wine (Pinot Noir ideal)
  • 1 tbsp Tamari
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt & pepper to season
Directions
  • Step 1 Light the BGE and bring to a temperature of 180C whilst preparing the vegetables
  • Step 2 If using banana shallots peel and cut lengthways into quarters.  If using round shallots peel and leave whole.  Finely chop the garlic.  Peel and cut the  carrots, celeriac and turnip into chunks. Dice the celery.
  • Step 3 Take the dried mushrooms just covered with cold water and leave for 5-10 mins and then pour away and recover the mushrooms with fresh water.  Rehydrate for around 20-30 minutes.
  • Step 4 Prepare the button or chestnut mushrooms.  If they are small keep them whole.  If large, cut into halves or quarters.  Prepare any other mushrooms you have in a similar way.
  • Step 5 When the Egg is up to temperature heat a sauté pan and dry fry the fresh mushrooms until they take on a little colour. Add some oil and continue to sauté conventionally. Squeeze the water from the rehydrated dried mushrooms (reserving the water).  Add to the sauté pan and cook until they too take on some colour.  Set all the mushrooms to one side.
  • Step 6 Add the rest of the vegetables to the pan with some more oil and cook until they start to colour.  Season with salt and pepper.  
  • Step 7 Add the platesetter and move to indirect cooking. Swap the sauté pan for the Dutch Oven and add the partially cooked vegetable and the tomato puree. Toss the vegetables until coated in the tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Step 8 Reintroduce the mushrooms and add the red wine.  Cook for 5 minutes to drive off the alcohol then add the stock, the reserved mushroom liquor, Tamari and the thyme.  Test the seasoning, stir and then to leave for at least an hour or more cooking indirectly on the BGE.
  • Step 9 Cook for long enough for the vegetables to soften but to still have texture and enough character to bite through when serving.  
  • Step 10 Serve with a baked potato, rice, mashed potato or couscous.

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