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.
Excerpted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Copyright © 2012 by Deb Perelman. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available wherever books are sold.
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter, softened
- 2 pounds (905 grams) Portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (you can use cremini instead)
- 1 cup (115 grams) pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
- 1/2 carrot, finely diced
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves,or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Table salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup (235 ml) full-bodied red wine
- 2 tablespoons (35 grams) tomato paste
- 2 cups (475 ml) beef or vegetable stock (beef broth is traditional, but use vegetable to make it vegetarian; the dish works with either)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (12 grams) all-purpose flour
- Egg noodles, for serving
- Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium-sized Dutch oven or heavy saucepan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms and pearl onions until they begin to take on a little color— your mushrooms will make a delightful “squeak- squeak” as they’re pushed around the hot pan— but the mushrooms do not yet release any liquid, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms and onions from the pan and set aside.
Lower the flame to medium, and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrot, onion, thyme, a few good pinches of salt, and several grinds of black pepper in the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned. Add the garlic, and cook for just 1 more minute. Season with more salt and pepper.
Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half, which will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the stock. Add back the mushrooms and pearl onions with any juices that have collected, and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the temperature so it simmers for 10 to 15 minutes, or until both the mushrooms and onions are very tender.
Combine the flour and the remaining butter with a fork; stir this into the stew. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat, and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to a “coating” consistency. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream, if using, and sprinkle with optional chives or parsley.
Make-ahead and Storage
The mushroom stew reheats very well on the second and third days, in a large saucepan over low heat.