Often when you make the switch to a vegetarian lifestyle choice, for the initial six to 12 months, you will experience meat cravings. After all, the body was raised on meat for many years. Some people (mostly long time vegetarians) baulk at the concept of fake or mock meat. But fake meat is perfect for those adjusting to vegetarianism. You will get the meaty texture but without the animal product.
Do vegetarians cook differently from meat eaters? No, absolutely not. In fact most meat dishes are easily adaptable to a vegetarian version. I spent a few years in France and one of my fondest memories is “coq au vin” – that quintessential dish of chicken in red wine.
Here is a vegetarian version of that dish. For an authentic hearty result, the dish is best prepared in a cast iron Dutch oven.
- 450g of tempeh (or fake meat), cubed – 2cm x 2cm
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed – 2cm x 2cm
- 2 medium swedes, peeled and cubed – 2cm x 2cm
- 2 stalks celery, cut into 2cm long
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed – 2cm x 2 cm
- 350g button mushroom, cut into half
- 1 tablespoon dried sage
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 30g butter (omit butter and double olive oil if vegan)
- 300ml red wine
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnishing (optional)
Heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat in the Dutch oven. When the butter has melted, fry the tempeh with salt and pepper, until brown on at least two sides. Add the onion, sage, swedes, carrots, potato, mushrooms and celery. Keep turning until the vegetables have slightly cooked and about to brown. This takes about 15 minutes. Add the wine, vegetable stock, tomato puree and extra salt. Lower the heat, cover the Dutch oven and let simmer for a good 90 minutes. Check and turn the vegetables every 20 minutes. This dish has a lot of gravy and it makes a perfect accompaniment for mashed potatoes. Or better still, mashed kumera.