Seitan Bourguignon in a Hokkaido Squash

Recipe by Deborah Brown Pivain of Gentle Gourmet Institute

This recipe is the perfect one to practice your sense of taste and ability to improve the flavor of a dish by balancing the salty, sweet, acidic, umami and bitter. Depending on the actual flavors of the individual ingredients (are your carrots extra sweet, are your onions very strong, is the wine acidic, is the mustard hot), you might have to rectify the taste towards the end of the cooking. For example, if the taste is too acidic, you can add a squirt of agave or date syrup and a pinch more salt. If it lacks a strong enough wine taste, you can boil down some wine for ten minutes and add it to the stew. If the sauce is not thick enough, add a beurre manié ( 1-2 tablespoons of oil with the same amount of flour, very well mixed) to the dish all the while gently but thoroughly turning over a medium heat for at least three minutes . If there is not enough sauce (perhaps your pot was too big and the large heating surface caused too much evaporation) simply add some more bouillon or cooked wine- bouillon mix.

This stew can also be served in a soup plate with rice or small, steamed potatoes.

For 4 Seitan Bourguignon

– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 yellow onion
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 2 tbsp fresh thyme
– 500 g of seitan, in piece of 2cm
– 8 medium sized mushrooms cut into two or four
– 500ml of broth (or more)
– 650ml of red wine (or more)
– 2 bay leaves
– 2 sprigs of thyme
– 1 Tbsp of tamari
– 10-15 small white onions, peeled or  8 – 10 very small shallots
– 2 carrots, peeled and cut diagonally
– 1 parsnip, peeled and cut diagonally
– 3 tbsp tomato concentrate
– 1 Tbsp mustard
– A good handful of parsley, stems removed, chopped
– 1-2 teaspoons of salt
– Ground pepper to taste
– ¼  tsp of liquid smoke
– Optional for a holiday meal: add during the last 10 minutes  8-10 halved cooked, peeled chestnuts and 8 – 10 quartered and pitted prunes
– 2 Hokkaido squash, cut in half horizontally, stabilizer cut on top and bottom, and roasted with garlic in the oven, half up, half down, depending on water content. This means that if you see a large amount of water coming out of the cut-side down or cut-up squash, pour it out to not have insipid, boiled squash. The idea is for the squash to become a bit dry, flavors concentrating and a light caramelization to have taken place.

  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat and add the yellow onion, garlic and thyme and cook for 3 minutes while stirring.
    2. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for 2 minutes while stirring frequently.
    3. Reduce heat a little, deglaze with wine and add broth, bay leaf, tamari, white onionsand parsnip and cook for 10 minutes without covering.
    4. Add carrots and tomato paste, mustard and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. During the middle of this last cooking period, check the carrots and white onions for the beginning of tenderness. If they are almost there,  add the seitan. If not, continue cooking while making sure there is enough liquid.
    5. Add the parsley, salt, pepper and liquid smoke. Remove the bay leaf.
    6. Fill the roasted Hokkaido squash and enjoy!

Variation:

For a more formal occasion, one can cook extra whole carrots and parsnips in a covered pan with very little water, a bit of margarine, salt and pepper till tender and most of the water has evaporated. With a potato or melon baller, cut out balls and add to the top of the stew once in the half-squash decoratively.

You can put well-roasted, quartered Brussel sprouts on top when serving which will bring a slightly sweet-bitter addition to the other flavors in the dish

as well as a bit of green for the aesthetics.

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