At the risk of being very clichéd (ooh, French word), I’m going to ask… have you seen Julie and Julia?
If you haven’t, as a food blog reader, you should. If you have, you’ll know that Beouf Bourguingon has become the dish that all food-bloggers must cook and write about, and so you’ll understand my trepidation when it came to turning seitan and fake bacon into something rich, satisfying, and melt-in-your-mouth Frenchish.
This dish usually requires long cooking on the stove and/or in the oven, which is something that seitan, in my experience, just doesn’t handle well. Also, its full of wine, which requires some tender negotiations at my place, as Mr hates the alcohol industry, and I have tried the non-alcoholic vegan stuff before – it only comes in sweet, which doesn’t work in dinner.
I was successful in my diplomatic mission, so it was on to conquer the seitan.
In my normal, scattered style, I read a bunch of recipes, got a feel for it, then started to cook, with some vegan adjustments. I will give you a recipe of sorts, but you’ll have to excuse the lack of measurements. I measure only when writing recipes, and even then, it feels like a bit of an imposition!
It ended up almost perfect. Gorgeous, rich, winey sauce, perfectly cooked vegies. Unfortunately, the seitan was a little rubbery, as I had feared. The recipe below reflects what I did, but if I make it again I would adjust it to use Fry’s Beef-style Strips instead of ordinary seitan, and I would add them close to the end to avoid the rubber-effect.
- Fake Bacon, diced
- A chunk of seitan, chopped, beef style (note, this may have been better with the Fry’s strips, and I suggest you try it).
- a bunch of tiny onions
- mushrooms, sliced thinly
- garlic, minced
- about 1/4 cup flour
- a few tablespoons tomato sauce
- “beef” flavoured stock powder
- 2-3 cups red wine
- salt, pepper, dried thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- some fresh parsley
- Brown the mushrooms in margarine, then set aside.
- Brown the whole small onions in oil and stock, then set aside.
- In a large saucepan, cook the bacon in some oil, set aside, leaving oil.
- In the same pan, cook the garlic for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and celery, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- At the same time, bring the wine to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove the vegies from the saucepan. Coat with flower, then return to pan and fry until lightly browned. Stir occasionally, but don’t get too concerned about them sticking at this point.
- Add the wine, bay leaves and stock powder (dissolved in water) at this point. Bring to the boil, then lower heat to simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the seitan, mushrooms, thyme, onions, and tomato paste. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves. Leave on low or no heat until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, add the parsley and bacon.
We had it with a e celeraic and potato puree: Boil diced celeraic and diced potato until they’re beginning to fall apart. Mash with soy milk, vegan cream cheese, chicken-flavoured stock powder, salt, pepper, margarine and nutritional yeast. Its rich and fatty, and really pretty fabulous.