dinner,  gluten free,  leftovers,  prepare now, eat later,  vegan

Vegan boeuf bourguignon (practically indistinguishable from meat version)

I know that the statement in title of this post may seem too optimistic at best. However, this is true: this dish will fool majority of meat-eaters, even if they ate the original boeuf bourguignon, a French beef stew with red wine. The remarkable similarity to meat was noticed both by my boyfriend and my coworkers at a Christmas party. I decided to put the recipe here before Christmas, in case you want to troll your family or show them a nice, festive vegan dish perfect for people who miss conservative food and don’t crave falafel and hummus everyday. 

The recipe is really easy and involves maybe 10 minutes of active cooking time, and about an hour for the stew to simmer on the stove. But for the soy protein to closely resemble the texture of long-cooked beef, it’s absolutely CRUCIAL to let the dish sit for a day or two in the fridge. Right after cooking, the soy pieces will be spongy and not that appealing. Leaving them for a bit will let them firm up and get the meat-like consistency. 

As for the wine, you don’t need anything fancy, a decent red dry will do. About 1/3 of the bottle will be left for you to drink, so choose something that will be a compromise between your taste and your budget. 

This is also the first time in my life I bough an used bouillon cubes.  Yes, I’m a bit ashamed, but they cut the cooking time significantly, and if you want to substitute by homemade broth – you’re welcome (1,5 glasses for soaking soy protein and 1,5 for cooking). 

Update: it was brought to my attention that different brands of soy protein have different cooking times. Polish brand Sante is super soft and requires no soaking, and only half hour of cooking, while Dutch one (Saheli or Saneli) is really tough. In the future, when you use a brand you haven’t cooked before, I would recommend soaking one piece in the boullion and looking if it remains solid after half an hour – if it does, then follow the recipe, and if it starts to become mushy skip the soaking part and add soy protein pieces directly to the pot with wine and boullion after the vegetables are fried.

Vegan boeuf bourguignon (“beef” stew with red wine)

4 small onions
4 carrots
200g textured soy protein (kotlety sojowe for my Polish readers)
2 bouillion cubes (check if vegan!)
2/3 bottle dry red wine
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp light soy sauce (tamari for gf version)
1 tbsp potato starch
4 bay leaves
6 allspice berries
4 juniper berries
2 tbsp neutral oil

Dissolve the bouillon cubes in 3 glasses hot water. Pour half of it into a bowl and mix with smoked paprika; put the textured soy protein into the mixture and make sure it covers the soy pieces (you can add more hot water if needed). Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat. Cut the onions in half, and then into slices. Slice the carrot, too (each slice should be about 0.5 cm thick). Pour the oil into the pot and add the vegetables. Fry, stirring occasionally, until you can see some colour on the carrot and the onions should be translucent; in the meantime, squeeze the soy protein, discard the marinade and cut the soy into bite-sized pieces (for me ones that are about 2cm big work best) and sprinkle them with soy sauce. Transfer them to the pot where the vegetables are frying, add spices, wine and remaining bouillon – the liquid should almost cover the soy and vegetables, add a bit of hot water if needed. Simmer on low for about an hour, covering the pot after 10 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate. Check mid-cooking to see if adding some water is needed. To finish, add potato starch mixed in a small amount of water to avoid clumps and bring to boil. Store for a day or two in the fridge before eating (of course, reheat just before serving!). Goes well with some white baguette or potatoes, and can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.  

2 Comments

  • B

    Soy protein has just fallen apart almost entirely, after about half an hour of simmering. I’m not even going to try to let it simmer for another half hour. I’ve been following the recipe. It still tastes great, but I’d like to know what I might have done wrong.

    • the lazy omnivore

      Hi!

      As I found out when I cooked this in a different country, different brands of soy protein have different softness and cooking time. So probably you have done nothing wrong, it’s just the issue with the type of the protein. Polish brand Sante is super soft and requires no soaking, and only half hour of cooking, while Dutch one (Saheli or Saneli) is really tough. In the future, when you use a brand you haven’t cooked before, I would recommend soaking one piece in the boullion and looking if it remains solid after half an hour – then follow the recipe, and if it starts to become mushy skip the soaking part and add directly to the pot with wine and boullion after the vegetables are fried.

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