Smitten with SK’s mushroom bourguignon
Not too long ago, Smitten Kitchen posted a mushroom recipe that would transform all your doubts about a vegetarian meal (you know the ones…they try to convince you that even if you just lived off them, they’d satisfy any of your carnivorous cravings). If your budget is student-inclined, then stock up on portobello mushrooms the next time they’re on special, and make this meal. Double the recipe even if you’re only serving two, because you’ll want this the next day even once you’ve stuffed yourself full the night you make it. Unfortunately I had used some of my mushrooms earlier in the week on less superior meals and boy, did I regret it!
To borrow a concept from the lovely Joy, this mushroom bourguignon is like a husband (as compared to say a one night fling) of a meal. You’ll want it every day, for the rest of your life. It may not be easy to clean up after, but secretly you know it’s worth it. It’s comforting, but cares for your health (mental and physical). And hey, it’s not as muscle-clad and droolingly delicious as all those other gorgeous things you could have, but you honestly believe that they’re this is the most beautiful thing that will grace your life your table, just because you know what it’s like inside.
To extend the love to your vegan friends, just omit the sour cream – it won’t miss it that much, like you wouldn’t miss your husband’s best jeans ;) In the pictured mushroom bourguignon I used vege stock, didn’t use any wine (didn’t have any), and garnished with sour cream and fresh thyme.
SK’s Mushroom Bourguignon (tweaked)
2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter (or oil for vegans)
half a kilo of portobello mushrooms, in half-centimetre slices
1/4 carrot, finely diced/chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 large shallot, finely chopped (or just use 1 large yellow onion rather than small)
salt and black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 c full-bodied red wine (optional)
1 c beef or vegetable stock (both work, I used vege), 1 1/2 c if not using wine
1 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 Tbs plain flour
Pasta of choice for serving
Sour cream and chopped chives, parsley, or thyme for garnish (optional)
Heat half the oil and butter in a large heavy saucepan or high-sided wok/frypan (I use a large pan as this makes the whole thing quicker to cook, because this thins the layer that’s being cooked and thus creates a greater surface area for reducing the mixture down to a thick consistency without too much flour), on medium high heat. Throw in the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are darkened but do not release liquid (approx 2 mins). Remove from pan and set aside (on a plate you’ll later be serving off if you’re keeping dishes to a minimum!).
Lower heat to medium and add second Tablespoon of oil. Add carrots, onions, shallots, thyme, pinches of salt (keep in mind stock is salty), and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the onions are golden. Add garlic and cook another minute or so, until the garlic is translucent.
Add wine or 1/2c of stock to the pan, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom of the pan. Turn heat up to medium high and reduce the mixture by a half (let the liquids evaporate off until only half the original volume is left) Mix in tomato paste, the rest of the stock, and the mushrooms (with any juices that have collected with the mushrooms), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are very tender. If you’re pouring this over pasta, then set your pasta noodles to cook now (before the 10 minutes is up).
Add remaining butter or oil to the pan and sprinkle flour over the top, quickly stirring in. Lower heat to low, and let simmer a further 5 minutes, until it is the desired consistency (your personal preferences come in here). Taste, and season further is necessary with salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of pasta, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives, parsley or thyme.