Querciabella Pairing: Vegan Cassoulet and Camartina 2017

Celebrate the release of the 2017 vintage of Camartina with the savoury deliciousness of a Vegan Cassoulet filled with umami flavours.

Camartina has always been a wine of majestic stature and the one we’re proud to call our flagship wine since its first vintage in 1981. Only produced in optimal years, Camartina has stood the test of time to become one of the more elegant, noteworthy wines in this category with an assertive, rather than aggressive, personality.

The 2017 vintage, characterised by the hot and dry climatic conditions, is all about the seamless integration of sophisticated and sturdy tannins and the noticeable bright acidity that weaves it all together. Camartina’s promise for elegance and poise is what makes it a versatile wine that will please any gourmet.

Pairing Camartina 2017

There is a gentle quality to Camartina 2017 that makes you pay attention to all the layers of flavours and textures it offers while making you aware that you are drinking a glass of wine full of personality. It is a wine that lets you experience its many tiers as it develops on your palate and urges for food that can stand up to its stately manners.

For the ideal pairing, something as perfect as French fries and Champagne, truffle and Sangiovese, fresh salads and Sauvignon Blanc, hummus and Rosé, you are looking for a rich, hearty dish. Like a vegan Cassoulet filled with wild mushrooms, fresh herbs, white beans, and veggie sausages. Rest assured, Camartina won’t overpower the dish but elevate it to new, sensational heights.

Why does this pairing work

To many, amateurs and professionals alike, it’s difficult to pair vegan food with big wines such as Cabernet-heavy wines or Super Tuscans. The simple key to standing up to the complexity in your glass is learning how to cook with the right ingredients to deepen the flavours. Take Cassoulet, for example.

Cassoulet might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the term ‘vegan’. Yet filled with the savoury deliciousness of wild mushrooms, fresh herbs, white beans, and veggie sausages, it becomes so rich that it stands head to head with many meat-heavy dishes. Umami is your greatest ally here!

Vegan Cassoulet

How we build flavours in this dish

Let’s start by slowly caramelising sweet onions to build a foundation of flavours. Then we add to our “soffritto” a bouquet of fresh sage, thyme, and rosemary. If you carefully take a sniff/sip, these are the same herbs you can find in your glass of Camartina.

Tomato paste is an umami-rich pantry powerhouse. Fresh tomatoes (because what would Tuscan wine be without a tomato-based dish?), as well as a splash of red wine, intensify the taste. The cannellini beans give an Italian touch and extra earthiness to the Cassoulet. Optionally, use delicious vegan sausages to mimic the traditional recipes made in the south of France.

You can make mushroom broth from dried porcini and shiitakes. Or fresh from other wild mushrooms such as maitakes, oyster mushrooms or even chanterelles if you’re feeling fancy. Top it with some panko breadcrumbs tossed in melted vegan butter for added texture.

Do you want to go umami all the way? Just fold in some grated vegan parmesan cheese – you won’t regret it!

Wild Mushrooms, Cannellini Beans and Veggie Sausage Cassoulet
By Sunny Gandara
SERVES 6–⁠8

56 g dried mushrooms such as porcini or shiitake, soaked in hot water
1–⁠2 tbsp olive oil
1 large, sweet onion, peeled, halved, and sliced thin
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
2 large celery sticks, diced thin
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
1–⁠2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
5–⁠6 leaves of fresh sage
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp tomato paste
50 ml red wine (optional)
450 g fresh wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster mushrooms, maitake, chanterelles)
1 tsp smoked paprika
pinch of red pepper flakes
4–⁠5 medium fresh tomatoes, diced or 425 g canned tomatoes
500 ml mushroom or vegetable stock
4 medium organic potatoes (about 600 g), scrubbed and diced
450 g butternut squash, peeled and diced
425 g cannellini beans, cooked
4 veggie sausages, such as Beyond Meat, sautéed and diced
180 g panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1 tbsp vegan parmesan (optional)
salt to taste
pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 190° C (375° F), lightly oil an oven-proof casserole, and set aside.

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for about 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve to remove debris, catching the liquid in a bowl to save as your mushroom stock (optional). Finely chop the rehydrated mushrooms and set them aside. Tie the sprigs of fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary) together, making a ‘bouquet garni’ using butcher’s twine and reserve until ready to use.

In a large Dutch oven or heavy-duty pot, add the olive oil over medium heat, add the sliced onions with a couple of generous pinches of salt. Sauté the onions over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until they are soft and nicely browned. Add in the mushrooms, a bit of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Follow with the smoked paprika and cook about 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms start to soften.

Throw in the carrots, celery sticks, garlic clove, the bouquet garni of fresh herbs and bay leaf and sauté for another 3-4 minutes before adding the tomato paste. Coat the vegetables well with the paste and increase the heat while pouring in the red wine. Reduce until nearly all the liquid is gone. Stir in the tomatoes and mix well.

Add in your stock, the diced potatoes and butternut squash, another pinch of salt and simmer for about 15 minutes until vegetables have started to soften. Finally, fold in the cannellini beans and veggie sausages and cook for another 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.

To make the breadcrumbs, mix the panko, melted vegan butter, garlic clove, thyme. Season everything with a pinch of salt, a few black pepper cracks, and the optional vegan parmesan. Fold the prepared breadcrumbs (about 60 g) into the casserole and mix well. Pour the mixture into the casserole and sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs generously on top.

Bake the Cassoulet in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until the top is brown and crispy. Serve hot with some crusty country bread and a glass of Camartina 2017!

Buy Camartina 2017

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