Saturday, November 6, 2010
Vegan Mofo Comfort Food: En Francais, SVP! Seitan a la Bourguignonne
Yesterday was rainy and gloomy and Friday, so naturally I spent the whole work day thinking of the glorious hour when I could return home, change into my pajamas, and start the weekend off with a delicious dinner. I'd planned to make pad thai, and had visions of tofu and peanuts and rice noodles dancing in my head. "I'm going to put on my pajamas and make pad thai as soon as I get home!" I said in a e-mail to the Man of Science. He called me a few minutes later to report that, though he almost never eats lunch, he'd done so that day and had eaten- you got it- pad thai.
I stood in the kitchen and did some thinking. The only vegetables we had on hand were carrots and celery. I started chopping. Then I accidentally stabbed myself in the hand. Things were not going well. With a generous length of bandage wrapped around my hand and a medicinal half pint of Kilkenny in my system I forged ahead, attempting to rescue dinner from certain disaster.
I'd been wanting to make my own seitan bourguignon since I ate it at a restaurant in Paris almost a year ago. I'd put it off, thinking it was complicated and would require my very focused and willful attention. Or, you know, maybe just the adrenalin rush of a minor stabbing.
It's actually not a hard dish to make at all. I used the Seitan recipe from Veganomicon and then followed this recipe from the internet which seems to be based on Julia Child's original, famous boeuf bourguignon. I only changed a few things, namely subbing in vegan pepperoni for the veggie bacon since I had some in the fridge, and leaving out the pearl onions because I had no onions in the house at all.
The whole thing is a lot easier if you are blessed with a cast iron dutch oven. That's my yellow one up there in the photo. I use it almost every day. These are expensive, but so very worth it. In fact, I often hem and haw when I see Le Crueset ones on sale at Winners and think maybe I would like another one. Then I decide that's crazy. But wow, are they pretty. And useful. Just like me.
Really the only difficult thing about this recipe is waiting an hour for the awesome-smelling food to be finished simmering in the oven. While it was cooking I made a pot of brown rice and when it was ready just spooned the bourguignon over the rice and that was that. No additional seasoning needed. It was crazy-delicious. We each had a second helping, even though the first one filled us up. I will absolutely make this again. It makes me want to schedule a dinner party immediately. Bravo, Julia Child! Apparently you knew what you were talking about.