Beet Bourguignon

I first made beef bourguignon for my mom’s birthday earlier this year. It was a fairly involved recipe and I can recall having numerous pans on the stove simultaneously, browning off large quantities of bacon and beef. The stew turned out to be delicious and it was a wonderful celebratory meal!

Flash forward to today where I’ve come to desire more plant-based recipes (this has actually been the case for many years)- and enjoy modifying old favourite recipes into vegetarian or healthier day-to-day fare. Et voila! Beet bourguignon- fairly fitting as it sounds so similar to the original, “beef” bourguignon.

While this stew may not contain any animal products, it boasts similar deep, rich, umami flavours just like the traditional. I opted to use tempeh for a protein boost – and I think the meaty texture worked quite well.

For the beet lovers such as myself, this is a must-try!

175g bag yellow pearl onions (~1.5 cups), peeled
454g container cremini mushrooms, cleaned and stalks removed

2 small-medium yellow onions, diced
4  cloves garlic, grated or minced
5 cups beets, peeled and cut into chunks (keep the chunks fairly large- rustic is good!)
2 cups carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (again- fairly large chunks)
1.5 cups red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1L vegetable broth
240g package tempeh, cut into chunks (similar in size to the beets and carrots)
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsp fresh)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp tamari
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tsp arrowroot flour mixed with 3 tbsp. cold water
Fresh parsley, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving

1) Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Arrange the mushrooms (cap-side down) and pearl onions in a single layer. Let them be for 5+ minutes (don’t stir!) until they get nicely browned. Turn and continue browning on all sides. Set aside. (Note: the mushrooms will release a fair amount of water- allow that to cook away and they’ll continue to brown).

2) Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent (about 5-10 minutes). Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Add the beets and carrots and stir to combine.

3) Add the wine and scrape any stuck-on bits from the bottom of the pot. Turn up the heat and allow the wine to bubble away for about 10 minutes. It should reduced in volume significantly.

4) Add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, tempeh, thyme, bay leaves, tamari, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer for about 45-60 minutes or until veggies are soft all the way through (beets take forever!).

5) Add the browned onions and mushrooms and stir to combine. Mix the arrowroot starch and water in a small bowl, ensuring there are no lumps. Add the arrowroot mixture to the pot and stir well. Bring stew to a boil, then simmer for another 10-15 minutes. The stew should thicken.

6) Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with crusty bread and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.