Inspired by the traditional version that uses pork, this vegan Normandy stew is a lovely autumn dish. What gives the dish the element of Normandy style is the use of apple cider. Since apples and apple cider are commonly used in dishes from this region, I used the same basic elements from the original dish to make my vegan version. Hearty carrots and celery compliment the cider, giving the sauce a rich, savory flavor. The mushrooms take the place of meat; along with the perfect plant protein of lentils. This stew is similar to a pot roast style dish. Serve over roasted or mashed potatoes, or use some crunchy toasted baguette to soak up all the sauce.
Preheat oven to 425F. Lay the mushrooms out on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, worcestershire sauce and soy sauce and roast for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside and set the oven to 350F. Add the remaining two tablespoons olive oil to a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add in the garlic until just starting to brown. Add in the carrots and celery and stir. Cover pan with a lid and allow the vegetables to cook a little. After about five minutes, add in the vegetable stock and cider and stir. Next, add in the dijon mustard and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with some water to create a thin paste. Add this mixture to the pan and whisk to thoroughly blend it into the sauce. Bring to a boil for about five minutes, then turn off heat. Next, add in the mushrooms and the bayleaf. Cover the pan and place in the oven for one hour. After removing the pan from the oven, add the lentils to the pan and stir to combine. (The lentils might get too mushy if they baked in the oven, so I add them in later). Top with the tarragon or parsley. Serve hot or warm over roasted or mashed potatoes or with some toasted baguette slices.