Puttering around the other day, I stumbled across an episode of Julia Child cooking up Boeuf Burguignon on what appeared to be the first episode of her pioneering television show, The French Chef. I could watch Julia cooking all day any day, even if she almost always makes things I don't eat. But she usually sets off a craving, and this time it was for my vegan Mushroom Bourguignon.
So after the nearly half-hour episode featuring a single recipe (it was, after all, the good old days when you didn't have to cook three dishes in 30 minutes) had wrapped up, I rushed into my kitchen to make myself a bourguignon.
My vegan Mushroom Bourguignon is definitely inspired by the French original, but it is quite uniquely my own, and it's a recipe I've perfected over years of making it. I shared it with you first about three years back but at the time I paired it with ramen noodles and steamed tofu, because what was I thinking?
So this time I'm going the more traditional route, and serving it to you by itself, although I'd advise you to eat it on a bed of flat noodles. Or with mashed potatoes. Quel génie!
There are many things I love about this dish, but chief among them are:
-the multitude of textures and flavors from the veggies.
-the silky, sauce that coats your tongue with so many explosive notes of salty, sweet richness.
-the ease of preparation
-the overall healthfulness of this stew. There is some fat in this dish but it is quite low-calorie and packed with good vitamins and even a good amount of protein and fiber.
How to make vegan mushroom bourguignon
- Use more than one kind of mushroom as you can, for the most flavor and texture, but one kind works too. I usually use a mix of dry shiitake and fresh crimini mushrooms. You can skip the dry mushrooms, but reconstituting them produces a really great stock that amps up the umami in this recipe.
- I like to brown the mushrooms first, for the best flavor and texture. It's an additional step but well worth the trouble and you'll be glad you did it when you take your first bite and go, ooh la la.
- The legend goes that bourguignon is so called because it's made with burgundy wine. That said, I've seen versions of beef bourguignon made with brandy, and I use that sometimes, while at others I go with regular old red wine. If you have kids and absolutely won't use wine in your cooking (I get it, but keep in mind the alcohol does cook off so your little ones won't be slurring their speech), use a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to deglaze the pan.
- This is a pretty straightforward recipe, so I don't want to drown you in instructions, except to say that when you cut veggies, try and keep them all in the same size so they cook together evenly.
- A bourguignon made by a French chef would likely include a bouquet garni--a mix of herbs. I use two--thyme and sage. I love the sage because it adds more smokiness and depth to the stew, but if you don't have it, you can leave it out. Just use more thyme.
- The tamari is not traditional, but I've always used it in my bourguignon because it adds umami and smokiness, along with the mushroom stock and sage. You can use soy sauce or liquid aminos as a substitute.
- With any stew, and especially with a vegan stew, the seasoning is key. Make sure you taste frequently and add salt and pepper as needed to make your stew as tasty as can be.
- If you're trying to stay away from fat and do not want to add the vegan butter at the end, you can leave it out, but the butter really helps smooth the sauce out even more, giving it a truly velvety texture and rounding out all of the flavors very nicely. It's not a whole lot--a tablespoon for four servings--but you get a great return on those calories.
What to serve with the vegan bourguignon
The mushroom bourguignon is robust enough to be paired with almost any grain, but it's usually served with a flat noodle like a pappardelle that can nicely cradle the plush sauce. I use fettuccine only because I more often have it in my pantry. This time I used a gluten-free fettuccine noodle made with brown rice and corn, making the meal entirely gf, and it was so, so good.
More vegan mushroom recipes
- Vegan Mushroom Stew
- Mushroom and Wild Rice Bisque
- Vegan Wild Mushroom Lasagna
- Malaysian Mushroom Korma
- Vegan Garlic Butter Mushrooms
Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon
- 12 oz crimini mushrooms (sliced. Use a mix of shiitake and crimini if possible or just either one)
- ½ cup dry, sliced shiitake mushrooms (Optional. If using, soak in 2 cups water to reconstitute, then drained. Reserve the stock)
- 2 tsp thyme (divided)
- 1 tsp sage
- ¼ cup gluten-free all purpose flour (or 2 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca starch. If not gluten-free, you can use regular all purpose flour too.)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 large carrot (finely diced)
- 2 shallots (finely diced, or onions are fine too. You can even use leeks for a variation, both green and white parts.)
- 3 stalks celery (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ cup red wine (I use brandy sometimes)
- 2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable stock (if you don't use the dry mushrooms and don't have mushroom stock. Or water works too)
- 2 tbsp tamari
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
- In a bowl, place the crimini mushrooms and the reconstituted dry mushrooms, if using. Add the sage, 1 tsp thyme, salt and ground black pepper to taste and the flour. Mix well to coat the mushrooms. It's okay if you have some dry flour remaining at the bottom of the bowl, it will form a nice roux to thicken the stew.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan large enough to cook the stew in. Add the mushrooms along with any remaining flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat until the mushrooms brown. Scrape the bottom of the pan if the flour sticks. The mushrooms should express enough moisture for you to do this easily enough, but it's okay if some brown bits remain stuck, they will add more flavor to the stew. Remove the mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Season with salt and ground black pepper and saute until the onions turn translucent and the veggies are somewhat softened.
- Add the remaining thyme and garlic and saute another two minutes. Add the wine or brandy and let the alcohol cook off. When most of the moisture has evaporated, add the tomato paste and mix well.
- Add the vegetable stock (or the reserved mushroom stock) and the tamari. Stir well to mix. Add the reserved mushrooms.
- Bring the stew to a boil. Add more water or vegetable stock if it seems too thick. Just before you turn off the heat, check for seasoning and add more salt and ground black pepper if needed. Add the vegan butter and stir it in.
- Serve hot over a bed of noodles or mashed potatoes.