This recipe accompanied a two-weeks-late Thanksgiving dinner at my apartment on a rainy Saturday. One thing I love about my family is that our holiday plans rarely fall on the actual holiday weekend. Another thing I love about my family is that I am not blood-related, but am still considered a daughter and sister, just as I consider them a mother and brothers. It’s been this way for years and neither time nor geographical distance will change that. We’re usually spread out within the province, throughout the continent, and a couple of us have spent some time on the other side of the world. Sometimes holidays don’t happen for us a couple of years at a time and that’s perfectly fine. If I’m being honest, we’ve never been big on holiday celebrations.
Not unlike our family, our holidays are very nontraditional. Usually, we plan an early or late holiday get-together once or twice a year, or whenever is most convenient. It works really well. This year, I made coq au vin for the meat-eaters, along with a vegetarian Julia Child-inspired tofu au vin for my mum. Being an ex-vegetarian, I love all things tofu and still strongly believe that being a vegetarian often forces you to get creative in the kitchen. I happily took part in this dish and even preferred it to the chicken.
- 1 block of firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 8-10 small french shallots, peeled and whole (alternatively, frozen pearl onions)
- 1 dozen to 15 shitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, diced
- 4-6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 3-4 tablespoons brandy
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper
*Optional: If you want to make this dish go a long way, scoop it atop your favourite carb.
About an hour ahead of time, drain tofu and place onto towel or paper towel. Place another paper towel over the tofu, with something heavy on top. I used a heavy can. This will drain out any excess water from the tofu and firm it up a touch more.
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the tofu and a bit of salt and pepper. Brown the tofu on all sides and set aside.
Add shallots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic to the pot, reduce heat to medium and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to give off liquid. Sprinkle flour over everything and stir in, cooking for another 2 – 5 minutes. Add broth, wine, tofu, bay leaves, thyme; deglaze and bring to boil.
Simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Stir in butter and brandy in the last 5 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serves 4 – 6.