January 9, 2010

Mushroom Bourguignon

Liking mushrooms is new to me.  Let's just say I had a bad experience a couple of years ago because I thought buying (and subsequently cooking) frozen mushrooms was a good idea... it wasn't.  Prior to, oh, yesterday, I never appreciated the meaty texture or earthy taste of mushrooms but I think they're really starting to grow on me-- and partial credit for that goes to this recipe.

I've never had beef bourguignon before but I have no doubt that it's delicious.  I'm not sure what wouldn't be amazing covered in this thick, rich sauce of beef broth, red wine, tomato paste, and butter.

Don't be fooled into thinking this bourgingnon is lacking anything because it's "missing" the beef.  As Deb notes, this version is just as indulgent as the traditional but not quite as heavy, which is a plus in my mind.  I decreased the amount of oil and butter used to one tablespoon each (instead of two) and to my surprise, I was still full and satisfied after only a modest serving.

Another plus is that this dish comes together much more quickly and easily than if you were to use beef.  It's the perfect meal for a cold winter night and, lately, we've been having plenty of those.

Mushroom Bourguignon
Adapted from smitten kitchen

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, softened
12 oz cremini or portabello mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices [I used a mixture]
1 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine [I used merlot]
2 cups beef or vegetable broth [I used beef broth]
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)*
Egg noodles, for serving
Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)

*pearl onions are a pain in the butt

Heat a half tablespoon of the olive oil and a half tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid-- about three or four minutes (mine began to release liquid at this point :/ ). Remove them from pan.

Lower the flame to medium and add another half tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.

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. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.

Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

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