First, to apologize to all those that like it, I finally developed this in response to the coq au vin at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival this year. I personally thought it was bland, “gloppy,” and tasted like beef stew instead of coq au vin. (yes, for the interests of science, I did taste it!)
So that said, I’ve had this planned in the back of my mind and finally decided to put a recipe together. It actually went through 1.5 iterations before the final output – my seitan-making still leaves a lot to be desired. After making terrible homemade seitan and simmering it in the sauce, it ended up tasting mushy. The vegetables and the sauce were very good, but the texture of the seitan was taking away from it. I ended up picking out the pieces of seitan, stirring in sliced Gardein scallopini (my favorite), simmered, and it’s in a much better place. I’m not claiming this is anywhere near authentic – without chicken thighs, it definitely is not. But it’s a hearty, filling, and tasty vegetarian dish that’s perfect for the cooler nights ahead.
I decided to serve this over a half and half mixture of pureed cauliflower and mashed potatoes. I’ve loved pureed cauliflower since I discovered it in a cookbook, not for its potato replacing ability, but for its own flavor. On my own, I can easily steam a bag of frozen cauliflower, add a little butter and Parmesan, spin it in the food processor, and eat the whole thing. Since Mike’s a little more iffy on that, and I wanted something that could “absorb” flavors a bit more, I added one enormous potato to the pureed head of cauliflower, which met with his approval. I’ll be putting it in its own post, so I can keep it separate from the vegetarian coq au vin. You can also serve it over just about any carb you like: regular potatoes, egg noodles, even a thick slice of crusty bread would be lovely.
And if I may, I do think it tastes better than Epcot’s!
The next time I make this, I want to garnish it with gremolata (lemon zest, minced garlic, minced parsley) even though that’s Italian, and this is French – I think it would add a little brightness.
Vegetarian Coq au Vin
Serves: 6 with accompanying carb; 3-4 without
1 package Gardein Chick’n scallopini
6 slices tempeh bacon, sliced (I used Tofurky brand, since that’s what our local store sells)
2 tbsp olive oil
10 oz. pearl onions, peeled
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
2 stalks of celery, sliced into 1 inch slices
4 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 of an inch
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, washed and quartered
2 tbsp flour
1 bottle of dry red wine (yes, a bottle! I used Cabernet)
1 cup vegetable or vegetarian chicken broth
1 tsp dried thyme
8 large sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brandy
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large, stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Partially thaw the scallopini and slice it into 1/2 inch thick slices. Add both scallopini and tempeh; cook for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add olive oil, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and mushrooms to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened and the mushrooms begin to give up liquid.
Sprinkle flour into the pan and stir quickly. Cook for an additional minute, then add wine, broth, dry and fresh thyme, bay leaves, and reserved scallopini and tempeh. Turn up heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and bay leaves and stir in the butter and brandy. Add salt and pepper to taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve over carb of choice.