Difficulty Level Easy
It was starting to look a bit like spring might be arriving soon. The temperature went well above freezing for a few days and the snow melted leaving the usual detritus on the streets and sidewalks. You can feel the warmth in the sunlight, and it's no longer pitch dark when I get out of bed in the morning. I went to my local farmer's market this past weekend and one of the farmers said she would have early spinach in 6 or 7 weeks. I was feeling optimistic.
But today if you live in Southern Ontario or in the north eastern United States, chances are you are either dealing with astonishing cold (me here in Toronto) or you are up to your knees in newly fallen snow. Cold, snowy times call for hearty, warming food, but it's almost spring so a lighter touch might be in order. If you substitute the traditional stewing beef with mushrooms you get a substantial tasting meal. I cut the mushrooms into quarters or halves depending on their size so that I would have big chunks of mushroom, rather than slices that would break down more.
If you want a vegan recipe, then leave out the butter and make the gravy with flour and water instead. A nice crusty bread to soak up the gravy and a green salad would make an excellent bistro style accompaniment.
|2 T||or more olive oil|
|2 T||or more butter|
|2 pounds||mushrooms (I used some portobello and button, but crimini would be nice as well)|
|½||carrot, finely diced|
|1 small||yellow onion, finely diced|
|2||cloves garlic, minced|
|1 cup||red wine|
|2 cups||broth (veg, chicken, or beef - whatever you have on hand)|
|2 tablespoons||tomato paste|
|1 teaspoon||fresh thyme leaves|
|1 ½ tablespoons||all-purpose flour|
|1 cup||pearl onions, peeled|
|Egg noodles, for serving|
|Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)|
Adapted from Gastronomical Three