Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mushroom Bourguignon

I am a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore. I’m sure my ancestors back in the caveman days were eating pterodactyl and saber-toothed tiger on a daily basis. (Yes, I know that’s historically impossible, but stick with me here.) My husband is cut from the same (loin) cloth. So the thought of making a meal without meat? Not going to fly in my house. That is, until I saw the photo of this gorgeous mushroom bourguignon on Smitten Kitchen. It looked so rich and thick and… well, meaty. We had to try it. And it did not disappoint. Portobello mushrooms are considered the steak of mushrooms and live up to it in this dish. It’s the perfect thing for a cold night (and we’ve been having a lot of those lately.)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 pounds Portobello mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine (we used a Bordeaux)
2 cups 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

Get out your trusty Dutch oven or whatever you usually make a big ol’ pot of soup in. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter and heat over high heat. Sear the mushrooms, stirring them around. In about 3 to 4 minutes they should begin to darken but not release any juice yet. Remove them and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, carrot, thyme and a good amount of salt and pepper. Cook it for ten minutes. It should start smelling fantastic. This is about the time that Steve started thinking he might actually enjoy the meal. When the onions are slightly brown, add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Now pour in the wine and deglaze the pan (get all the brown bits from the bottom of the pot). Put the heat back on high to reduce the liquid by half. About now it starts smelling a lot like strong red wine. It’s not great. But don’t be afraid—I didn’t taste the wine outright in the final dish. Once it’s reduced, add the tomato paste and broth, plus the mushrooms and any juices they’ve released. Bring the liquid to a boil and then lower the temp to simmer for 20 minutes. If you are adding pearl onions (we couldn’t find any!) add them after the 20 minutes and simmer for another 5.

Combine the remaining tablespoon of butter with the flour until combined (I zapped it in the microwave for 15 seconds to make it easier). Stir the mixture into the sauce until it’s mixed in and the sauce thickens. Simmer for another ten minutes. If you want an even thicker sauce you can turn up the heat and boil to reduce until it’s where you want it. Taste it and season it, then serve over egg noodles with a healthy spoonful of sour cream!

It’s by no means easy, but it’s also not the most complicated meal I’ve ever made. And it’s worth it. Plus, when someone asks you what you had for dinner last night, you get to say, “Mushroom Bourguignon” and totally put to shame the leftover meatloaf they probably had.

(Click here for printable recipe)

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