mushroom bourbignon

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 pounds portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (save the stems for another use) (you can use cremini instead, as well) *Since I’m a poor uni student, I usually buy half/half portobello/white button mushrooms. You still get most of the full meaty flavour of the portobello, but it works out much cheaper. Swiss brown mushrooms are also a good alternative.
  • 1/2 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced {What is a yellow onion? I don’t know, so I used a normal one.}
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced {Or four, if you love garlic like I do.}
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups beef or vegetable broth (beef broth is traditional but vegetable to make it vegetarian; it works with either)
  • 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) {I bought “pickling onions” because I couldn’t find pearl onions – and I used 8, because I love eating small, sweet onions.}
  • Egg noodles, for serving {Or whatever you feel like. I used mashed potatoes for half, and fettucine for the other.
  • Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
  1. Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one 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. Remove them from pan. {If you’re using white button mushrooms, be aware that they’ll release liquid early. But don’t panic – it doesn’t seem to have made much difference. Just take the mushrooms off the heat when you think notice the liquid coming out.}
  2. Lower the flame to medium and add the second 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.
  3. 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. {I think pickling onions are bigger than pearl onions, so they take longer to cook. Mum said they’d take about an hour and she wasn’t far off – I think mine took about 40-50 minutes of gentle simmering. Be careful not to evaporate all your liquid away while this happens – use a lid if you have to. Your sauce will thicken at the next stage anyway. Your mushrooms will probably wilt to almost nothingness after being cooked for so long, but that’s the price you pay for not using the right ingredients, I suppose. Still delicious, don’t worry 🙂}
  4. 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.
  5. To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.

I used some of this mushroom mixture to make pies (with a layer of mashed potato inside as well!). 

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