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I came across this recipe in Joanne Harris’s book “The French Market” and found it interesting. The original recipe calls for Rabbit which I have no idea how to veganize since I’ve never eaten it before but I thought seitan would make a good stand-in. I love the idea of cooking savory dishes with fruit, and so the combination of seitan and prunes really got me thinking. A bit of Googling told me this is a pretty popular recipe in Southern France where Prunes from Agen are a pretty big deal. I like interesting culinary traditions so I was excited to give it a try. Obviously the original recipes call specifically for prunes from Agen but you can use any large plump pitted prunes, California Plums are what I used and it worked out great. I know it probably sounds weird to you, but give it a try, you might be really surprised.

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Seitan with Prunes 
(A.K.A Seitan aux Pruneaux d’Agen) 

2 Tbsp Nondairy Butter
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
2 Bay Leaves
1/3 C Brandy
2 Stalks Celery Diced
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
2 Cups Red Wine
1 ½ lb’s Beef Style Seitan
25 Pearl Onions
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
20 Agen Prunes (or Large Dried California Plums) Halved
Sea Salt and Black Pepper as Needed

– Heat a small pot of water over high heat, when boiling add the onions. Boil 1 minute then drain and drop into a bowl of iced cold water to blanch. Slide off the skins and put the onions aside.

– Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Melt 1 Tbsp of the nondairy butter and cook the seitan until brown on all sides. In batches if necessary. About 8-10 minutes. When browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

– Heat the remaining nondairy butter in the pan and add the peeled onions. Saute for 5 minutes until golden, add the garlic and celery. Saute another 3-5 minutes until celery is soft.

– Pour the wine into the pan, and add bay leaves, thyme, and the browned seitan back with it. Let come to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

– Add in the Brandy, the Prunes, liquid smoke and season with salt and pepper as desired. Let simmer another 20-30 minutes.

– Remove from the heat, taste for seasonings and adjust as needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve with mashed potatoes and peas as I did, or whatever your favorite side dish. Some crusty bread wouldn’t hurt either!

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*** Note – Unfortunately this recipe is my best approximation as I didn’t actually write anything down while cooking. Since I made this several days ago I’m relying solely on memory here.*** 

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