Priya Konings

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Launching this week in print, the Veg Diner Monologues is a monthly column celebrating the best vegetarian dishes in D.C. 

Where to Get It: Woodward Table, 1426 H St. NW

Price: $22.50

What It Is: This dish is a twist on a classic French bourguignon stew, except beets replace beef as the star ingredient. The result in a meal that has the density and soul-satisfying quality of the original concept, but with added sweetness and seasonality. Chef Eddie Moran says he roasts beets with classic bourguignon aromatics, then chops them to resemble stew meat soaked in red wine. Finally, he sears them to give them a caramelized texture on the outside before serving them over farro tossed with mushrooms and butternut squash. The stew is also laden with baby root vegetables, hay-smoked pearl onions, and roasted grapes, which bring “a smoky, sweet, almost terroir wine note to the stew,” Moran says.

The Story: Moran wanted to make a meatless preparation of this classic French dish without compromising flavor and presentation. He says the key is the vegetarian demi-glace made from roasted vegetables, miso, kombu kelp, and mushroom trimmings that add a balance of sweet, savory, earthy, and umami flavors. The sauce has both body and depth of flavor.

Why Even Meat Eaters Will Like It: With the combination of so many seasonal vegetables and a demi-glace that is meticulously prepared, this dish is arguably more beautiful, more fragrant, and more flavorful than a traditional bourguignon.