04.05.12_Coq-au-Vin-Less Coq au Vin

So this recipe does not contain chicken or wine, thus the name Coq-au-Vin-Less Coq au Vin name. However having made the real deal a couple of weeks ago, I see why the blog where I found this recipe still called it Coq au Vin. It had very similar flavors and ingredients, even with the two primary ones obviously missing. However, not having the chicken and the wine (which is often not vegan believe it or not) made it extremely easy to convert to a vegan recipe since Caitlin was coming over for dinner. The recipe called for:
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • salt
  • 3 oz tempeh bacon, cut into small strips (we used Lightlife's Smart Bacon)
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and patted dry, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz frozen pearl onions (we used fresh)
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, minced or food processed into tiny pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • several sprigs fresh thyme
  • several sprigs fresh parsley (I used dried)
  • 8 oz green beans
  • 1 tbsp butter (we omitted for Caitlin)
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups water
This recipe had a fair amount of prep but luckily Caitlin and I have a long history of cooking together and it was nice to have her in the kitchen with me helping like the good ol' days. One new thing for me was having to buy fresh pearl onions. The recipe called for frozen but after going to both Safeway and Whole Foods and having no luck, I managed to find a bag of fresh ones. I looked up how to peel them online, hoping to find an easy way. All you have to do is bring a pot of water to a boil, drop in the onions and let them cook for about 2 minutes. Then after cooking put them into an ice bath. Finally cut off the root end and the skins come right off. Still a lot more work than buying a frozen box but good to know for the future if you are in dire of need of pearl onions!

Another prep item was the eggplant. Caitlin diced the it while I pressed the tofu. We put the diced eggplant into a colander, salted, and let sit for 20 minutes or so to draw out the excess liquid and to make it less bitter. While the eggplant sat and the tofu was being pressed, we both cleaned the mushrooms. Maybe there is a better way of doing this, but cleaning mushrooms takes forever, especailly when you have a 1lb of cremini to clean. Finally it was time to start cooking. I put some oil into a pan and sauteed the diced tempeh bacon for a few minutes. Next, I added the tofu, seasoned with S&P, then sauteed for another 5-6 minutes. After the tofu started to brown, I added the diced eggplant, the onions, and the mushrooms which I had pulsed in the food processor to a very fine dice (its easier to hide them from Phillip when they are tiny). About 5 minutes after adding the rest of the veggies, I grated in 6 cloves of garlic. This mixture sautes for a total of 15 minutes (10 minutes after you add the garlic).

Finally, I added 2 cups of veggie stock, a cup of tomato sauce, the green beans, 2 bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme, and the parsley into the pot. Lower the heat so that the sauce is just bubbling. This simmers for a good 20 minutes or so until it has reduced and thickened. We served the Coq-au-Vin-Less Coq au Vin over polenta and Phillip and I topped it off with some grated Parmesan cheese. We were all pleasantly surprised with the flavor of the dish. Our only complaint was that there was a lot of the same texture, which you know is usually an issue for me. Luckily the fresh green beans and the pearl onions provided a nice crunch as needed. This recipe was not difficult but definitely takes a lot of time to get everything ready since you are working with so much fresh produce that needs to be handled before cooked.

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