If you’re thinking about taking on the seemingly daunting task of cooking for your sweetheart this Valentines Day, but haven’t a clue what to make, then you’ve come to the right place. Yes, you could go the usual route and do the steak and potatoes thing, but it’s so…common. And what if your date isn’t of the omni/carnivore persuasion, eh? What if I said that you could take an amazing dish that’s traditionally made with beef and make it equally as delicious with a swap-out of mushrooms? Now you’re curious. Read on.
The following is a great twist on the classic French dish, Boeuf (beef) Bourguignon, where beef stew meat is cooked with carrots, onions, herbs and tomato paste. It is then simmered in red wine until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened and concentrated all of those lovely flavors into a savory, gravy-like sauce. This mushroom bourguignon replaces the beef with hearty mushrooms, like portobellos and criminis, but uses the same techniques — and most of the same ingredients — as the original. The traditional dish uses pearl onions, but I opted for peas as they give the dish some more color. Even better, this mushroom version takes a fraction of the time to cook.
Lastly, I must give credit where it’s due. This recipe was adapted from the original incarnation of Mushroom Bourguignon by Deb Perelman on SmittenKitchen.com. It’s featured in her new cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, and the first time I laid eyes on the recipe — and the book — I was smitten. I highly recommend picking up this book; it’s full of dazzling looking dishes that are great for cooks of any skill level, and it features both meat and vegetarian main dishes.
Mushroom Bourguignon (vegan)
Adapted from SmittenKitchen.com
Makes 2 servings
2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil, divided
1/2 pound Portobello mushrooms, stems and ribs removed, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 pound small cremini mushrooms, stems chopped and tops quartered
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
1 sprig oregano, leaves removed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
Red wine vinegar, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley, thyme and/or oregano
In a heavy-bottomed pan or dutch oven, heat up one tablespoon of oil to medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and let cook for a few minutes, until just browned on all sides (stirring only occasionally). Remove from pan and set aside.
Lower heat to medium, add another tablespoon of oil and throw the carrots, onion, thyme and oregano. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes and when they begin to soften, add the garlic and tomato paste, stirring well and often to prevent burning. Let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add flour, stirring to coat everything, and cook for another minute.
Pour the wine in, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze, and raise heat a little to bring to a heavy simmer. Simmer until the wine is reduced by at least half, stirring occasionally to prevent anything sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
When the wine has reduced, add the mushrooms back to the pan along with the broth. Stir well and let simmer over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to a gravy-like consistency. Stir the mixture occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. You may have to reduce the heat a bit as the sauce thickens. When the sauce is almost thickened, add in the frozen peas and let simmer for at least another 5 minutes. Taste and season with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.
To serve, spoon the stew over roasted new potatoes, mashed potatoes or polenta and sprinkle with fresh herbs.