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)|
- Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two batches. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Add carrots, onions, thyme, salt and pepper into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn up the heat until the liquid reduces by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and the pearl onions and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir in. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, continue to boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.
Adapted from Gastronomical Three