It’s time to finally share one of my favorite Flemish classics! Of course we turned it into a vegan version. So to everyone all around the world: Meet the beloved vol au vegan!
This Flemish classic, originally called “vol au vent” and made with chicken (and sometimes meatballs), is a delicious creamy “stew” that will probably conquer your heart right away. The lovely thing about it is that it originally already contains a lot of mushrooms, so the only thing that has to be replaced is the meat, and of course the diary in it. To get right on the important stuff of which meat substitute to use, I must admit that it’s the first time I made this vol au vegan with soy chunks. When I was a vegetarian, I always used Quorn chunks together with vegan chicken pieces. Going vegan, we had to adjust a bit to not being able to use Quorn anymore. I’m therefore very happy that they announced their vegan products will be available in Belgium later this year, but more about that once the time has arrived. Last time I tried adding vegan meatballs instead of the Quorn chunks, but I didn’t really like it that way. That’s why I went looking for something else to use, and it turned out that a lot of Flemish vegans use soy chunks for this dish. I must say, the taste of the soy chunks is pretty much the same as the chicken pieces I always used, so both things will work out fine 🙂 One thing to know: it’s important to make sure you buy the right size of soy chunks when you decide to use these. They come in a lot of sizes and here in Belgium most of the time they only sell the very small ones in stores. I ordered the ones for this dish online, but they were bigger than I thought they would be, so I had to cut them up. As long as you don’t buy the little ones, you can use every size, but if you don’t want to do too much extra work, I suggest you go for one of the middle sizes (about 1,5cm x 1,5cm maximum). You can check out the soy chunks I used in the picture below. Also very good to know if you’re not familiar with this product: you can store them as long as you want and once you soak them in water, they get a lovely meat-y texture.
Now, about what to serve with this creamy deliciousness: I think a lot of hardcore Flemish people would slap me in the face right now, as most of the time this classic gets served with fries and a lot of mayonaise. (Which I must admit is a perfect combination.) But this time I decided to have it with some delicious oven potatoes, which -believe me- is also very tasteful 😉 Also, traditionally, the “stew” gets served in some kind of pastry. Last time I tried to make a vegan pastry myself, which was very delicious, but as I don’t find it really necessary, you can just serve it in a cute little casserole or casually on a plate. Just some cress and a piece of lemon on the side, and that’s all this classic needs. Simple and yet so delicious!
So, are you ready to do some real Flemish cooking? I’m so sure you won’t regret it!
- What do you need? (About 4 servings)
– 500g mushrooms (you can use different types to make it more special)
– 1 big onion
– 250g soy chunks
– 250ml vegan bouillon
– 400ml unsweetened soy milk
– Some vegan butter and flour (to make a base for the sauce)
– 10 to 15 small potatoes (pre-cooked for about 10 minutes)
– 2 cloves of garlic
– Lemon parts
– Olive oil
– Italian / Provencal herbs
– Salt & pepper
- How do you make it?
– For the vegetables: Chop the onion into pieces and the mushrooms into four parts. Heat some olive oil in a big casserole and bake the onion for about two minutes. Add the mushrooms and bake them with the onions until they start to let go of their juice. Add the soy chunks and the bouillon. Put the lid on the casserole and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.- For the sauce: Heat some vegan butter in a sauce pan and add about four spoons of flour to it. Start stirring until you get a smooth yellow roux. Now, carefully start adding the milk bit by bit and keep stirring firmly so all the chunks dissolve into the milk and it starts thickening. Once you’ve added all the milk, you will have a perfect, creamy sauce. Add some salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir through again. You may have to add quite a lot of herbs to get a good taste to it, so don’t be afraid to give your salt mill a good spin 😉 Once your sauce is ready, you can add it to the casserole.
Stir everything through and taste if it can use some more herbs or not.
– For the potatoes: Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees (Celsius). Cut the pre-cooked potatoes into two to three pieces. Put the potatoes in an oven dish and drizzle with olive oil. Cut two cloves of garlic into very tiny pieces. Add some salt, pepper, Italian / Provencal herbs and finish off with the garlic. Stir everything through a bit and put it in the oven for about 10 minutes.
– Bringing it together: Put some of the vol au vegan in a little casserole or just on a plate. Put the potatoes and some of the cress on the side. Add a piece of lemon, so everyone can drizzle some lemon juice over their stew, which gives a very nice fresh taste to it all. Sit back and enjoy this simple, delicious Flemish food!