Where’s The Meat: Mushroom And Chickpea ‘Bourgignon’

Please accept this vegan recipe as a peace offering after writing about cooking with offal and MSM the past few days!

It would only be a matter of time before I started playing with the doyenne of rags-to-riches cooking themselves, Jack Monroe’s recipes and making them my own. I read this on their site and liked the sound of it as I had an 88% full (roughly) punnet of mushrooms in the fridge that I couldn’t see myself using for anything else over the next few days, and I felt it’d be a good way to use a few bits out of my store cupboard too – I know coconut oil isn’t budget cooking, but I had the end of a jar languishing at the back from almost a year ago (when I made these brownies for a friend’s birthday) and it was getting on my nerves so, out it came.

I’ve only lightly played with this, by adding the chickpeas for some protein, and a couple of extra flavourings in the bay leaf and the steak seasoning. If nothing else, it’s an excuse to spread the word of the phenomenal work Jack does – they are as ‘up there’ in my culinary place of worship as Nigella, if not on equal billing. In fact my favourite way of cooking is taking one of Nigella’s recipes and ‘Monroe-ing it’ i.e using the cheapest possible version of the listed ingredients as far as possible without ruining it – classic case in point, the chocolate cake I posted a few months back.

Why tea? Jack has waxed lyrical numerous times about how black tea is a great substitute in any braise that calls for red wine, as it provides the same tannic flavour wine gives after a long slow cook and one doesn’t have any red wine in or doesn’t want to go and get some/avoiding it for whatever reason. When writing this up, I realised Jack used two teabags to get some truly strong tea and I only used one, hence why I perhaps couldn’t quite taste it. Ah well, next time, I’ll use two.

The original recipe served 4, I’m greedy so it served two for me, but as it’s all vegetables, I don’t feel guilty. Either way, this is an enormously satisfying meat-free stew – I had it with (don’t tell anyone….instant) mash but serve it however you like – plain rice or buttered noodles would be good, or just eaten out of a bowl, and because it’s made entirely of vegetables, no need to cook any extra sides.

Sorry the photo is bad…this is classic comfort food – but with a face only it’s mother could love.

Mushroom And Chickpea Stew/ ‘Bourgignon’

1 medium onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 dessert spoons coconut oil

1 x 400g tin plum tomatoes

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

2 tbsp tomato purée

300ml strong black tea,

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Few shakes Schwartz Steak seasoning (or indeed any brand)

1 bay leaf

300g mushrooms, sliced

  1. Boil kettle, and brew the tea (300ml means the biggest mug you can find). Leave to stew.
  2. Place the onion and garlic into a pan, and dollop the oil over. Stir, add a pinch of salt and bring to a medium heat, continuing to stir as the oil liquefies. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until softened, take care to not let them darken.
  3. Pour over the tinned tomatoes, stir in the puree, and add the herbs. Remove the teabag(s) from the mug and pour the tea into the pan, and give everything a stir.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms and the chickpeas, then bring it all to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes to let the sauce reduce and thicken and all the flavours meld together. You’ll want a fairly thick gravy but really it’s up to you.
  5. Season to taste, adding the steak seasoning, and optionally, a splash of vinegar, before serving, either eaten dreamily out of a bowl in front of Netflix, or beside some mash or over plain rice.

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