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Beet Bourguignon

As soon as I saw a recipe for Beet Bourguignon I knew I had to try it.  I posted a more traditional take on a Beef Bourguignon a while back, with big chunks of beef and root vegetables all simmered in a rich wine and stock combination.  The beef version is perfect for cold winter nights, and we enjoyed it many times last winter.  With the holidays just barely behind us, though,  it somehow feels like a dish that requires skimming fat from the surface should wait.   In the spirit of  a healthy new year, this dish is completely vegan and served over lentils instead of a starch (although a starch would be also be delicious).

Beet Bourguignon

Beets have a very strong flavor, but the combination of fresh herbs and earthy mushrooms and lentils give this dish a rich complex flavor that could change the mind of someone who thinks they don’t like beets.  I love beets, and I was surprised at what a hit this dish was!  Everything is braised in the oven, so peel and chop everything into big chunks.  I threw in two parnsips, and I think that a few turnips or celeriac would also work nicely.  I saved the beets for last since they turn everything purple. Everything.

Beet Bourguignon

Beet Bourguignon

All of the roots are browned with onions, garlic, thyme, and rosemary then braised in red wine and vegetable stock.  If you want to try your hand at homemade stock here’s some instructions we posted a while back.  To thicken the sauce I went with my new favorite method, sprinkling the vegetables with a bit of flour and adding olive oil before the liquid.  This works well for soups and stews and I find it less fussy then adding thickener at the end or a traditional roux.  All purpose, spelt, or gluten free flour will all work.

Beet Bourguignon

The mushrooms are a little more delicate then the roots and added during the last ten minutes of cooking.  Give them a quick brown on the stove and reserve.  The lentils are kept plain, simmered in water and seasoned with salt, pepper, and an optional dash of vinegar.  The stew will also serve beautifully with a wedge of baguette, egg noodles, or mashed potatoes/parsnips.

Beet Bourguignon

6 small or 3 large beets, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, cut in half
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (spelt, gluten free, and whole wheat will all work)
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus more for sautéing
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
salt + pepper
2 cups lentils
4 cups water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sweat the onions and garlic.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and cook onions, garlic, and herbs until onions start to turn translucent.  Add carrots, parsnips, beets, and sprinkle with salt +pepper.  Cook about five minutes, until starting to brown.  Add two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons flour to the pan.  Cook until flour is absorbed.

Deglaze the pan.  Add wine stirring up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add vegetable stock, tamari, smoked paprika, bay leaf, and tomato paste.

Bake covered at 350F for 45 – 60 minutes or until beets are tender.

While the stew is cooking.  Brown mushrooms in olive oil.  Set aside.  Bring 4 cups water to a boil, add lentils.  Simmer uncovered for 20 – 30 minutes until lentils are tender.  Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of red wine vinegar (vinegar is optional).

Add mushrooms to the stew.  Return to the oven for ten more minutes.  Taste, and adjust salt if necessary.

Serve stew over lentils.

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