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 terrific amalgamation of wild mushrooms, enokis, dried porcinis, sherry, and spinach 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.
Reprinted with permission from Stewed: A Collection of Soups, Braises, and Stews from Sweet Basil by Dave Becker, copyright 2012. Published by Garden Variety Publishing. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:serves 4 to 6
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:45 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup carrots, scrubbed, 1/4-inch dice
- 2 cups Spanish onions, 1/4-inch dice
- 1/4 cup celery, minced
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 cups oyster mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cups assorted wild mushrooms (whatever’s interesting at the market), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup dry sherry
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 quart chicken stock or vegetable stock
- Pinch chopped fresh sage
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup enoki mushrooms, separated
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- White truffle oil
- 1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over high heat for 2 minutes, or until smoking hot. Decrease the heat to medium-high, and then add the carrots, onions, and celery. Sauté the mixture for 5 minutes or until the ingredients are nearly caramelized.
Add the garlic and the oyster and wild mushrooms, and then continue to sauté the mixture for an additional 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are nearly browned. Immediately deglaze the pan with the sherry, and then bring to a boil for 1 minute.
Add the dried mushrooms and the chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, decrease the heat to low, and simmer until the soup reaches the desired consistency. Swirl in the sage, spinach, and enokis, and then remove from the heat. Season it with the salt and pepper.
To serve, evenly distribute the soup among serving bowls, drizzle with the truffle oil, and garnish with the Asiago cheese.