Slow-Cooked Chestnut Bourguignon

Image: Hearty vegan goodness.

Author: Bre

I was living in a small town in France when I went vego. I started reducing my meat intake for a whole host of political and personal reasons, and after a couple of months, I completely lost the stomach for meat. Eating out then became difficult. I remember being on a train and asking the person running the trolley service if they had any vegetarian sandwiches, to which they replied “oui, on a du poulet”. Having other people cook for me was also a challenge. Friends were lovely and did their best, but they struggled to understand my dietary requirements. The only other vegetarian in town ate seafood, so I felt guilty and awkward turning down the fish-based meals they had prepared especially for me.

I began exploring ways to adapt previously-loved meat-based dishes to my newly acquired vego taste buds. This Slow-Cooked Chestnut Bourguignon recipe is my favourite thing that I came up with during that time. The chestnuts are really hearty so I find they work well as a wholesome substitute for beef. So chuck on some Jacques Dutronc and do a little dance, because French food just became a little more cruelty-free.

Slow-Cooked Chestnut Bourguignon

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 800g chestnuts
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 200g button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 bottle vegan red wine (see note)
  • 1 vego friendly “beef style” stock cube
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano in a bouquet garni)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220 °C.
  2. Cut across the curved side of the shell of the chestnuts using a serrated knife. Place them into a saucepan and cover them with water.  Bring to a simmer.
  3. Remove chestnuts from water, place in a baking tray and roast for 15 minutes then peel.
  4. Place peeled chestnuts in a large pan or wok and cook in oil over a low-medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and carrot and cook for a few minutes, stirring the mixture.
  6. Once the vegetables are lightly cooked, stir the flour through the mixture and leave for 1 minute.
  7. Cover the mixture in wine and add the stock cube, herbs, salt and pepper.
  8. Place a lid over the saucepan and cook over a low heat for 3-4 hours, until the wine has made a thick sauce. Stir occasionally and add more wine or water as necessary.
  9. Serve with bread and/or roasted potatoes.

Bre Chesnuts.jpg

Note – Make sure to check the label of the wine. Most wine manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand use fining agents – such as egg, milk, gelatine and fish – to improve the clarity of the wine. Yellow Tail’s reds are known to be vegan friendly, as well as a lot of organic wines. You can learn more about animal products in wine here.

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