Mushroom & Tea Bourgignon, 41p (VEGAN)

Mushroom and Tea Bourgignon-that's-not-a-bourgignon-at-all. Tea in stew is one of my favourite discoveries so far this year. I'm so happy I could do a cartwheel, but I was never very good at those.

Mushroom and Tea Bourgignon-that’s-not-a-bourgignon-at-all. Tea in stew is one of my favourite discoveries so far this year. I’m so happy I could do a cartwheel, but I was never very good at those.

Now don’t freak out, but here’s a recipe for tea bourgignon. Like bourgignon for tea, but a little more exciting. The pedant in me thinks I can’t exactly get away with calling this vegan heap of deliciousness a ‘bourgignon’, given that it doesn’t have any beef or wine in it, but the rebel in me is shrugging her shoulders and recalling the hundreds of recipes I’ve cooked so far on this journey that deviate deliciously from their traditions and origins, and besides, ‘mushroom stew’ just doesn’t have the same oh-no-she-didn’t ring to it.

For a while now, some of my readers have been asking what they can replace wine with in my recipes; either they don’t have it, or it’s too much of an outlay to go and buy a bottle just to use a splash here and there (and if anyone understands that, I do!). Well, my science head said one day that maybe strong black tea would give the same effect, and then by happy coincidence someone suggested it on one of my recipes a few days later and sealed the deal. Tonight, with a glut of mushrooms escaping all over the vegetable drawer, I decided to make a bourgignon, and just as I reached for the wine I remembered – TEA! And it’s a very, very happy discovery indeed. I can’t wait to use it in lots of other recipes now! Of course, it’s not the first time, I made a banana and tea curry a while ago that made it into my second book, but that was as a flavour of its own, not replacing my beloved red wine. This, this use for it, is just divine. And so much cheaper. Oh, I love a bargainous discovery.

Serves 4 at 41p each

1 medium onion (mine weighed 200g, but don’t worry too much), 11p
4 fat cloves of garlic, 7p
2 tbsp oil, 6p
pinch of table salt, <1p
400g chopped tomatoes, 35p
2 tbsp (21g) tomato puree (optional but I like a nice tomatoey taste), 10p
300ml strong black tea, <1p
1 tsp (0.5g) mixed dried herbs, 2p
400g mushrooms, 90p

First boil your kettle and find the largest mug you have. Pop a teabag in, and fill it to the top with boiling water. Let it stand to one side to stew, properly stew, while you do the next bits.

Peel and finely slice your onions, as thinly as you can – when one of my friends taught me to make curries many moons ago, he told me to chop the onions so finely that eventually they melt into the sauce with a long slow cook; it’s a principle I apply to most stews these days. Your onions might not vanish, but that’s okay too, mine don’t always. Not all onions are created equal.

Peel and chop your garlic, and toss into a large pan with the onions. Pour the oil over, stir, add a pinch of salt and bring to a medium heat. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, to soften the onions and lose that raw acerbic edge to them.

Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stir in the puree, and add the herbs. Remove the teabags from the mug and pour the strong black tea into the pan, and give everything a stir. Slice your mushrooms and toss those in too, then bring it all to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes to let the sauce reduce and thicken and all the flavours meld together in a super delicious way.

The next bit is up to you. You can leave it simmering away for another half an hour in the traditional fashion, or you can turn the heat off, pop a lid on (or large plate or tin foil if you don’t have a lid) and let it slowly cool down – it will carry on cooking itself with the heat trapped inside, but cost you less in gas or electricity to achieve pretty much the same effect – it just won’t reduce as much, so you’ll need to strain some of the liquid off to serve, or eat it like a soup, which is equally yummy.

Season to taste, and serve. I like mine slopped onto white fluffy rice or a pile of mash, but if you’re a low carb person, a pile of spinach or steamed greens would be yummy too.

To make it go further, you could sling a can of cannelini beans (or rinsed off baked beans) into it when you put the mushrooms in, which adds a hit of protein too, for people who worry about that sort of thing.

Enjoy!

I calculated these recipe costs at Sainsburys based on my most recent shop. Other shops sell onions and mushrooms so check out what’s available near you. Prices were correct at the time of blogging but those sneaky supermarkets put them up all the time, so if any of them are wildly wrong by Tuesday let me know and I’ll amend them. If you find any Super Brilliant Bargain Prices on any of these ingredients then comment below, as my readers and friends love a bargain and it’s nice to share.

Prices were based on: 1.5kg Basics onions, 80p. 2 bulbs Basics garlic, 35p. Sunflower oil, £4/3l. Basics table salt 25p/750g. Basics chopped tomatoes 35p/400g. Tomato puree 35p/142g . Basics tea bags 20p/40. Basics mixed dried herbs, 40p/13g. Basics mushrooms 90p/400g.

I’m on Twitter and Instagram @MsJackMonroe – and you can find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

And if you like my recipes and want MORE, there are two whole books of them available to buy from lots of places but my favourite is Hive, see here for details: http://www.hive.co.uk/book/a-girl-called-jack-100-delicious-budget-recipes/18105011/ (If a few of you buy my book, then that keeps me fed and watered and my blog free for the people who can’t afford to buy the books, I like to think it all balances out but I do, er, have to make a living somehow…)

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46 Comments »

  1. Ooh, interesting new flavour to play with. Can’t have caffeine, it’s migraine territory, do you think it would work with decaf tea? I’m going to have to try it aren’t I 🙂

      • Haha, I’m sure it will feature at some point 🙂 someone asked about printing your recipes off. If you add a plugin called Print Friendly And PDF it provides a clickable that makes everything on the post printable, with the ability for readers to delete any parts they don’t want to print, or to send it to a PDF. Lots of other plugins that will do similar things too, no need to do it manually

  2. The tea is such a good idea! I’ve never wanted to buy a whole bottle of wine just for cooking, since I cook for one and don’t drink much. I’m definitely going to try this.

    I saw a recipe in a supermarket magazine a while ago that used apple juice in a risotto. I tried it and it was pretty good, so that might be a decent replacement for white wine in some recipes.

  3. Tesco extra, the smaller ones that don’t get as many customers, seem to have amazing mark down prices around 7pm. Got some lovely chestnut mushrooms for 25p & there were loads being sold off in the big store about 6pm..still looking nice too. I tried your drying out mushrooms tip from your 2nd book Jack but they still seemed chewy rather than snappy..any tips? Ta x

  4. Sounds delicious! And would easily adapt for slow cookers, which will be very useful as I’m back on ridiculous 13 hour shifts from next week – it’s like you knew 🙂

  5. Great idea, even for one who doesn’t really like strong tea.
    But can I put in a plea for “bourguignon” to have back its lost “u”? Doesn’t have quite the right look about it otherwise…!

  6. jack this sounds really nice and I am going to make it, defo, but have noticed that you don’t have a print option for your recipes, that’s such a shame as the rest of your website is really top notch. Not complaining though, don’t get me wrong, just thought I would mention it maybe make your fabulous site even more dynamic. Keep up the great recipes, regards Tracy

  7. Hi Jack, I asked the greengrocer for one of the polystyrene broccoli boxes with a lid. Instead of leaving the saucepan to simmer I would put the lid on it and stand it on an old towel in the polystyrene box with another cloth on top, and put the polystyrene lid on the box.
    It will keep hot and continue to cook without any extra fuel.
    Best Wishes,
    Daisy

  8. That looks fabulous.

    Oh and I bought your 120 recipes last night, and I’m planning to try so many of the recipes in this next month – the herring roe ones look so scrummy, Thank you for the continued inspiration!

  9. This sounds amazing, and such a neat trick 🙂 Can you can taste the tea in the final dish? I made your banana and tea curry and loved it, but my partner hates the taste of black tea and so really wasn’t keen on it!!

  10. Jack, I love you….. so few people, let alone recipe bloggers, realize you might not have a pot lid!!
    You are the only person on the ‘net who really gets what not having any money means. I am very sorry you had to go through the horror to learn this, but the constant compassion you show is awesome. I am truly in awe. Keep up your good work, and love to Allegra & the babies….

  11. Strange question but can this be made without the tea? I don’t use anything with caffeine in it….plus I really can’t stand the taste of tea

  12. Ok. I couldn’t get the mushrooms as cheap as you suggest but I had all the other ingredients and therefore made this yesterday. I really think the tea is a good idea as I never have wine in the house and resent buying it for recipes. The tea gave a depth to the dish that made it for me and I look forward to substituting wine for tea in other recipes – for me this may also give some easy depth to my camping cooking too. Thanks Jack x

  13. Ok. I couldn’t get the mushrooms as cheap as you suggest but I had all the other ingredients and therefore made this yesterday. I really think the tea is a good idea as I never have wine in the house and resent buying it for recipes. The tea gave a depth to the dish that made it for me and I look forward to substituting wine for tea in other recipes – for me this may also give some easy depth to my camping cooking too. Thanks Jack x

  14. While sadly many people are living on a very restricted budget, there are lessons for us all here. We should be concerned about saving energy, eliminating waste and eating sustainably.

  15. Made this yesterday as I had a pile of mushrooms in urgent need of using up – delicious! I did add some quorn mince and half a tin of baked beans that needed using up. So far have had it with rice, pasta, and best of all in a tortilla wrap. Many thanks!

  16. Non-tea drinkers might like to give miso in hot water a whirl. It has a earthy/fruity tang and is supposed to be very good for you. A jar lasts for months.

    • Miso is great – easy instant meal just using hot water. I add finely chopped peppers, cucumber, lettuce or spinach – whatever you have to hand can go in. It can be used with some cooked rice, bulgar wheat or cook cous cous in the hot water with it, so versatile.

  17. I made this cos I needed to use some mushrooms up. It was delicious! Even the husband who is an EXTREMELY fussy eater said it was OK☺

  18. A bit late after the post, I know, but still : as a french person I really can’t agree on the name of your dish for the main reason that any recepie isn’t just a reciepe. It’s tradition, history, culture, terroir… Your dish has (appart from oil, salt and garlic) nothing to do with bourgignon. It might be very tasty and creative but it’s kind like me saying that I’m making your mum’s stew without knowing her and without any of the key ingredients. I think naming your dish bourguignon shows some involuntary contempt for Burgundy and it’s cooking tradition. Maybe it’s the french in me speaking : we tend to take cuisine way more seriously than anglo saxons do, but for us cooking is deeply embroided in our identity and that’s probably why we can’t treat it without having a sort of respect for the place and the people it comes from (for better or worse, sometime our respect can become deference).

  19. A bit late after the post, I know, but still : as a french person I really can’t agree on the name of your dish for the main reason that any recepie isn’t just a reciepe. It’s tradition, history, culture, terroir… Your dish has (appart from oil, salt and garlic) nothing to do with bourgignon. It might be very tasty and creative but it’s kind like me saying that I’m making your mum’s stew without knowing her and without any of the key ingredients. I think naming your dish bourguignon shows some involuntary contempt for Burgundy and it’s cooking tradition. Maybe it’s the french in me speaking : we tend to take cuisine way more seriously than anglo saxons do, but for us cooking is deeply embroided in our identity and that’s probably why we can’t treat it without having a sort of respect for the place and the people it comes from (for better or worse, sometime our respect can become deference).

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