Autumn is well on its way and comfort food is in order. When the rain is pouring down the windows, nothing spells cosy more than fluffy mashed potatoes and a big pan of hearty stew. The ideal occasion, in short, for this vegan bourguignon to shine!
As the name suggests, this dish is a vegan rendition of boeuf Bourguignon, the classic stew from Burgundy starring beef, celery, carrots and mushrooms, stewed in a hearty red wine sauce. As a child, I loved the dish, but the meat component of it not so much, because the stringy bits of it would get stuck between my teeth. This vegan version doesn’t contain any stringy bits, but it is filled to the brim with every other delicious part that made this well-loved dish such a classic in the first place. Tender root veggies, succulent braised mushrooms, a load of fresh herbs and a hearty, full-flavoured sauce.
The base of the sauce is a combination of veg stock and red wine – in my case not a Burgundy, but a vegan Malbec from Argentina; I hope purists will forgive me! The already hearty flavour is enhanced with fresh rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, and with a magic ingredient: whole-roasted garlic. The first time I roasted a bulb of garlic to use all of it in one go, it was a revelation, because the process transforms its sharp flavour into something completely different. Roasting the garlic cloves in their skin softens and caramelises them, turning them into a sweet and savoury umami flavour bomb. Blending them into the stock before adding it to the pan gives the resulting sauce wonderful depth of flavour.
The celery, carrots, parsnips and mushrooms are fried first, for extra flavour, and then cooked in the sauce. As there is no meat that needs cooking, and I like the veggies to be brightly coloured and just tender instead of mushy, this is a rather quick stew, requiring no more cooking time than 15 minutes. A generous dose of black pepper, a splash of vinegar to balance the sweet tones of the sauce and vegetables, and a batch of herby Puy lentils for bite and extra protein and your vegan bourguignon is ready to be served. Preferably on a bed of fluffy, mustard-spiked mashed potatoes, for ultimate comfort and flavour.
Have a wonderful autumn week – and happy cooking!
Vegan bourguignon with Puy lentils and mustard mash – serves 4
for the bourguignon
- 1 whole head garlic
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 100 g dried Puy lentils, rinsed and checked for rocks (they can actually be in there!)
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 tsp. red wine vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 650 g chestnut mushrooms, cut to your own liking in halves, quarters or slices
- 4 carrots, in bite-size chunks
- 3 parsnips, in bite-size chunks
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 3 celery stalks (I like mine finely chopped, but you can cut them in bite-size pieces if you prefer)
- 240 ml vegan red wine
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 4 tsp. corn starch
- bunch of flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
for the mustard mash
- 1 kg potatoes, peeled and halved, if large
- 320 ml almond milk
- 2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
With a sharp knife, cut off the top of the garlic bulb so the tops of the cloves are exposed. Place on a lined baking sheet and drizzle the cut end of the bulb with a little olive oil. Roast the garlic for 30-40 minutes until the cloves are completely soft and the tops are nicely browned.
Pour the vegetable stock in a large jug. Peel the garlic cloves and tip them into the stock. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth, then set aside.
Bring a pan of water to a boil. Add the lentils, along with one of the bay leaves. On a low heat, cook the lentils for 15-20 minutes until just tender. Drain and remove the bay leaf. Stir in 1 tsp. of the vinegar. Season well with salt and pepper, then keep covered until using.
To prep for the mustard mash, boil the potatoes in a small layer of water for 20 minutes, until completely cooked. Drain, then keep covered.
Over a high heat, heat a splash of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Working in batches, fry the mushrooms until browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, then take out of the pan.
Add some new olive oil to the pan if needed, then fry the carrot and parsnip pieces until nicely browned. Take out of the pan.
Now fry the chopped celery. Lower the heat, then add the chopped onions. Stir well and cook until the onions are translucent. Raise the heat again and pour in the wine. Let the wine bubble a minute to make the alcohol evaporate, then return the mushrooms and root veg to the pan. Pour over the vegetable stock and add the rosemary, thyme and the 2 remaining bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and lower the heat. Let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes until the carrots and parsnips are just tender. Remove the herbs.
In a small bowl, mix the corn starch with 2 tbsp. of cold water and stir to make a lump-free slurry. Stir the mixture into the bourguignon sauce and let it bubble for a few minutes to thicken. Stir in the last 2 tsp. of vinegar and season to taste with lots of black pepper and a bit of extra salt, if needed.
Now finish the mustard mash. In a small pan, bring the almond milk to a boil. Mash the cooked potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper, then stir through the mustard and hot milk.
Divide the mustard mash over four plates. Spoon over the vegan bourguigon. Top with the lentils and serve right away, garnished with parsley.