December 18, 2013

Recipe: Wild Mushroom Bourguignon (Vegan/Vegetarian Beef Bourguignon)

I'm super excited to share the first of ten recipes I'll be creating for Field Roast Grain Meat Co. as their "Urban Foodie" Recipe Developer (more about that here). This Wild Mushroom Bourguignon is my vegan version of the classic Boeuf Bourguignon recipe popularized by Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (and featured on the first episode of her iconic cooking show "The French Chef"). Traditionally, Bourguignon is a beef stew with carrots, pearl onions, and button mushrooms in a rich Burgundy wine sauce. Instead of beef, my vegan Bourguignon uses Field Roast's Wild Mushroom Quarter Loaf, a deeply-flavored seitan packed with earthy mushrooms and a touch of balsamic vinegar.

To keep with the "Urban Foodie" theme of incorporating food trends and fusion cuisine, this recipe is my French-Korean fusion interpretation of Julia's classic Bourguignon. Julia's Bourguignon uses tomato paste as a central component of the sauce, giving it body and ton of rich, caramelized vegetable flavor. My Korean-inspired Bourguignon replaces tomato paste with Gochujang (sometimes spelled Gojuchang), a fermented red pepper paste that makes an appearance in many traditional Korean recipes. Gochujang is becoming a fast favorite in foodie condiment culture, and it's easy to taste why. Gochujang gives the Bourguignon a smoky, savory backbone and a gentle, warming heat that amplify all of the other flavors going on in the stew.

Speaking of those other flavors: Bourguignon is all about building a spectacular sauce, so it is absolutely key that you use the tastiest wine and vegetable broth you can find. Any "off" flavors in those ingredients - bitterness, muddiness, whatever - will be really noticeable in the sauce, so choose a wine and a broth that you really love. I recommend using a Pinot Noir for Bourguignon - not only is it a regional Burgundy wine (Bourguignon's home region), there are also a TON of really great Pinot Noirs out there that don't cost a fortune. Mine was $10 and it was fantastic. For the vegetable broth, I recommend using Better than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base, which has really clean vegetable flavors. It is rather high in sodium, though, so I like using 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water.

I am really proud of this recipe - I think it's one of my best, as a matter of fact. It comes with Daniel's omnivore seal of approval, as well. In his words, "This is I'm-full-and-I-can't-stop-eating-it GOOD". If you've yet to decide what you're making for a holiday meal, I highly recommend this show-stopping Bourguignon. 

Wild Mushroom Bourguignon
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes

2 cups Pinot Noir wine, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 (16 ounce) bag of frozen pearl onions
8 ounces Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, small caps halved and larger caps quartered
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed, small caps halved and larger caps quartered
2 tablespoons Gochujang (Korean Fermented Red Pepper Paste)
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces carrots (about 3-4 medium), halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4"-thick pieces
4 cups vegetable broth (I used 4 cups water plus 2 teaspoons bouillon paste)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 Field Roast Wild Mushroom Quarter Loaf, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4"-thick pieces
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Kosher Salt
Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
Bring large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the pearl onions and 1/8 teaspoon of salt, tossing to coat in the oil. Cook onions for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown in spots (they won't brown evenly, and that's fine). Deglaze pot with 1/4 cup wine, cooking briefly to reduce wine and coat onions in the wine glaze. Transfer onions and glaze to a large bowl and return pot to heat.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot, followed by the shitake mushrooms and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown and have released their moisture, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup wine, cooking briefly to reduce wine and coat mushrooms in the wine glaze. Transfer mushrooms and glaze to the bowl with the onions and return pot to heat. Repeat this cooking process with the cremini mushrooms (add 1 tablespoon oil, cook mushrooms with  1/8 teaspoon salt, deglaze with 1/4 cup wine) and transfer the cremini mushrooms and glaze to the bowl of onions and shitakes.

Return pot to heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, followed by the gochujang, garlic, and thyme. Cook briefly until aromatic, then add the raw carrots along with the cooked onions and mushrooms. Stir to coat with the gojuchang mixture. Add the remaining wine and stir to deglaze the pot. Add the vegetable broth and cover pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, then stir in the sliced Field Roast. Cover pot and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until carrots are tender and Field Roast is heated through.

Use a slotted spoon to remove all of the Field Roast, onions, mushrooms, and carrots from the pot, leaving the sauce in place (the same bowl you were using earlier for the vegetables is a good spot for them to hang out). Transfer 1/2 cup of the remaining sauce to a small bowl and whisk in the cornstarch until dissolved. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the simmering sauce and stir until thickened, 1 or 2 minutes. Add back the Field Roast, onions, mushrooms, and carrots and stir to combine. Serve immediately with noodles, mashed potatoes, or crusty bread. 

I am thrilled to be working with Field Roast as a "Cooks in the Field" recipe developer. Please note that my contract with Field Roast does not include any sponsored posts on Braisen Woman - all words and content of this post are my own. In accordance with FTC guidelines, any and all sponsored content will be clearly disclosed as such.

December 13, 2013

10 Vegan Holiday Recipes Sure to Please a Crowd

As the holidays approach, it's likely you'll be playing the part of Party Host or Party Guest at least once. If a holiday party is in your future, you might be looking for some great vegan holiday recipes that will please a roomful of party-goers, vegan or otherwise. And, hey! What's all this? Why, it's 10 Vegan Holiday Recipes, all perfect for a celebratory winter menu! Whether you need vegan recipe ideas for a potluck, formal dinner, hor d'oeurvres party, or Christmas brunch, this list has got you covered.

Bruschetta is always a hit at parties, but the traditional tomato and basil version is virtually impossible to make with the mealy, pale tomatoes that you'll find in the grocery stores this time of year. My sweet-and-sour Sicilian Caponata Bruschetta uses perfectly-ripe canned tomatoes, freeing you of any tomato-related holiday stress. Bonus: it is really freaking delicious.

These Roasted Peppers with Sicilian Tempeh Stuffing make a beautiful entree (full-size peppers) or appetizer (mini peppers) and are a fantastic first introduction to tempeh for unfamiliar family or friends. The stuffing calls for fennel pollen, but if you can't find it (or it's too pricey), replace the onion with a a fennel bulb and leave out the fennel pollen. That said.... splurge on the fennel pollen. It's awesome.

The Creamy White Bean Dip from my tomato tartines is the perfect recipe for those holy-balls-I'm-supposed-to-bring-something-to-this-party-and-I-totally-forgot moments. It has five ingredients and takes five minutes to make, but people will never know because it tastes fantastic. A definite party upgrade from standard hummus. Drizzle liberally with olive oil and serve with crostini, pita, flatbread, or pita chips. DONE.

If you need to blow someone's mind with how delicious vegan food is, make this Pistachio Soup from Yotam Ottolenghi's "Jerusalem". It is heaven in a bowl, and I am barely exaggerating when I say that. Vegan skeptics will be forever silenced with a single spoonful. Serve small bowls of the soup as an appetizer at a formal sit-down dinner or get all top-chef-y and serve little shot glasses of it as a fancy hor d'oeuvres.

My Curried Butternut-Coconut Bisque is another crowd-pleasing holiday soup. Make it the day before to let the coconut/curry/squash/cider flavors marry overnight, then re-heat right before serving. Garnish with roasted butternut squash seeds or croutons.

This Basmati & Wild Rice with Chickpeas, Currants, & Herbs from "Jerusalem" is a wonderful side dish with a stuffing-like quality in that carb-y, savory, can't-stop-eating-it kind of way. It's a great choice for a potluck or sit-down dinner. It might be fun to replace the currants with cranberries to add a bit of holiday color. Garnish with a little extra parsley before serving.

Yeah, ok, this Roasted Butternut Squash & Red Onion with Tahini & Za'atar  is yet another recipe from "Jerusalem", but it is SO GOOD. The brilliant orange and violet colors of the dish make it a gorgeous addition to a potluck or sit-down dinner. So so pretty. Add the (addictively delicious) tahini-lemon sauce and pine nuts/za'atar right before serving.

My Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Smoked Salt is a simple make-ahead dessert with the illusion of fanciness thanks to a sprinkling of smoked salt. The mousse is very rich, so serve in small portions. I like serving the mousse in clear party cups/shot glasses in the 2-4 ounce range for potlucks or hor d'oeuvres parties.

These Grapefruit Ginger Scones are a lovely addition to a Christmas breakfast or brunch. Candied ginger and grapefruit are an unexpected combination that make these fluffy scones feel winter-y and cheerful. These scones are one of my favorite recipes to date - I'll definitely be making them when I'm home for the holidays.

My Spiced Pear Muffins with Black Pepper & Ginger have an old-school gingerbread vibe, making them another great option for a holiday breakfast or brunch. People don't stop at one of these muffins. Plan accordingly.

December 6, 2013

Recipe: Celery & Green Apple Soup

It happens every Thanksgiving. To make Thanksgiving stuffing, you start with a mirepoix. To make a mirepoix, you need a few stalks of celery. To obtain a few stalks of celery, you buy an entire head of celery. This chain of events leads to two things: 1) a delicious stuffing and 2) a mostly-intact head of leftover celery. If you're anything like me, that head of celery will sit, forlorn and forgotten, in your fridge until it goes limp. At which point you finally toss it into the compost bin with a feeling of shame. Seriously, you guys, I do this little dance EVERY YEAR. But not this year! This year, I promised myself I would not waste that celery. So, what to do with leftover celery from Thanksgiving? You make Celery and Green Apple Soup.

Celery and Green Apple Soup is one of those "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" recipes. A humble ingredient list of Thanksgiving remnants - that barely-touched head of celery, a stray onion, some sprigs of parsley, a couple apples - becomes a silky soup that somehow manages to taste refreshing and comforting at the same time. Its flavors are clean and bright, the celery-ness unapologetically front and center, with tart green apple and lemony parsley peeking through the background. As if that wasn't reason enough to make this soup, it also happens to pack a ton of healthfulness - vitamins! antioxidants! fiber! - into a measly 100 calories per cup. If you're feeling gluttonous after Thanksgiving's feast, turn to this soup. It's redemption in a bowl! Salvation in a cup! Unless you're eating it alongside a huge piece of baguette, in which case it's just delicious.

Celery & Green Apple Soup
serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head of celery*, stalks chopped (3 1/2 cups total) and leaves reserved
2 medium tart green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves, lightly packed
4 cups "chicken"-style vegan broth** (I used 4 cups water plus 2 teaspoons bouillon paste)
1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste

*Give or take a few stalks
** Do be mindful of the sodium level in your broth, as celery has a fair amount of naturally-occurring sodium. Aim for around 450g sodium/cup or so.

Bring a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Once oil is hot, add the chopped celery stalks, apples, and onions and cook for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent and celery is beginning to soften. Add the broth, parsley, and celery leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until celery is completely soft.

Puree the soup in a blender, being sure to  remove the center piece of the lid and cover the opening with a towel when pureeing (this allows the steam to escape without covering your kitchen in soup). When pureeing hot soup, it's best to never fill the blender more than half full - I pureed the soup in two batches. Once the soup is extremely smooth, return to the pot and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and cornstarch until cornstarch dissolves, then whisk in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Stir milk mixture into the soup. Simmer, stirring, until soup thickens slightly (about 2 minutes). Taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary, then remove soup from heat and serve. Soup will keep in fridge for 5 days.