Mushroom Stew from 'Stewed'

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[Photograph: Nina Gallant]

Wintertime vegetable soups all to often tend towards the creamy, orange, winter squash/carrot type. And while there's nothing wrong with a well-made butternut squash puree, sometimes a little more texture and funk is in order. Enter Dave Becker's standout Mushroom Stew in his new book, Stewed. This is a terrific amalgamation of wild mushrooms, enokis, dried porcinis, sherry, and spinach that tastes earthy in the best way possible.

The mushrooms are sauteed in a ripping hot pot to brown quickly without steaming, and are then simmered to tender perfection. A (very slight) drizzle of truffle oil (haters, don't hate) and a smattering of Asaigo cheese enlivens the stew upon serving.

Why I picked this recipe: Craving a bit of texture in my winter vegetables lead me to this savory mushroom mix.

What worked: This deeply earthy stew got everything just right.

What didn't: Nothing.

Suggested tweaks: Becker calls for a wide variety of mushrooms in this stew, and it tastes wonderful with such an assortment. That said, if your mushroom access is limited, you could make an almost equally good version with creminis, shiitakes, and dried porcini. Becker also calls for homemade stock (as well as in all his other recipes), but you can make do with high quality store-bought stock in a pinch.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Stewed to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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