Those who have followed Deb Perelman's blog Smitten Kitchen for any length of time have learned that she works wonders with vegetables (and also butter). Her past life as a food-loving vegetarian shows in each of her recipes. Perelman's Mushroom Bourguignon in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is a perfect example of her vegetable creativity. Meaty portobellos (or creminis) and pearl onions are browned a la chuck roast, then added to a rich tomato and wine gravy. After only 20 minutes on the stove, the stew is thickened with beurre manié (butter and flour mixture), and it's ready to serve.
Why I picked this recipe: Another perfect dish for cooler temperatures, this stew showcases one of my favorite fall ingredients: the hearty mushroom.
What worked: This is a truly awesome recipe. Not only is it a fast (and vegetarian) alternative to beef stew, but it is also a wonderful mushroom dish in its own right.
What didn't: Unless you have a very wide pot, I'd recommend browning the mushrooms and onions in batches for the best results.
Suggested tweaks: Next time, I plan to mix in a few different kinds of mushrooms (blue oyster and shiitake are some of my favorites) along with the creminis for funkier flavor.