Love ‘em stuffed with crab meat, deep fried with tartar sauce, on my pizza, in a calzone, sauteed in lots of butter, in a Parmesan cream sauce over pasta. And in my pre-veghead days, I’d put them in every beef or chicken or pork braise or stew that I made.
And when I became a veghead, I discovered a recipe for “Mushroom Stew” in the second “Vegetarian Epicure” cookbook. I was in heaven.
There’s nothing really fancy about this dish, but I can see how in the early ‘70s it would seem very exotic and yeah, maybe a little weird, too. Whole mushrooms and red wine and fresh thyme and little pearl onions? Where’s the beef?
The recipe I’m giving here is mostly the way it’s presented in the cookbook. I really haven’t messed around with the ingredients too much and my changes are in red. It’s a stew, after all, so consider this more of a blueprint than a recipe you need to follow to the letter to get good results. However, I have changed the cooking technique a bit. I love Anna’s recipes but for some reason she has you use every pot and pan in the kitchen.
I like this over those wide egg noodles (buttered, of course), but mashed potatoes would be awfully tasty, too. Polenta would be awesome and, since we’re in that vein, how about cheddar cheese grits or spoonbread? Biscuits, maybe? There’s a lot of ways to play this.
Paul doesn’t like a lot of mushrooms, and since they’re clearly the focus of the dish I haven’t made this in a very, very long time. I think it might be time for a reunion. And I can always make him something else.
- 5 Tbsp butter (I use 2 Tbsp)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 1 cup tomato juice (if you’re using fresh tomatoes)
- 2 cups peeled, quartered tomatoes (I use a 28 oz can of chopped plum tomatoes in juice and omit the tomato juice)
- red wine to taste (about ½ cup)
- 1 tsp. dried thyme (I use fresh, about 1 Tbsp)
- 1 ½ lbs. mushrooms, wiped clean and trimmed (trim the bottoms and only cut them in half if they’re huge)
- 1 lb. boiling onions (I use a handful or so of the frozen pearl onions. If you can get them, the fresh pearl onions are great in this)
- chopped fresh parsley
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup pitted green olives. (umm…no thanks)
- In a large Dutch oven, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter with 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil. Add to it the bay leaves, garlic and onions. Saute until the onions are golden and then stir in the flour and lower the heat.
- Cook the roux for several minutes, stirring constantly, and then add the veggie broth, tomato juice and fresh tomatoes (if you’re using them) or the canned tomatoes and the wine. Bring up the heat to let the sauce thicken, give it a good stir, lower the heat and let it simmer uncovered.
- In a saute pan, melt the remaining butter and add the thyme and the mushrooms. Saute them over a high flame for several minutes turning them over (they’ll squeak!) and add them and the onions to the sauce. Give the stew a taste and add the parsley, salt and pepper and more wine if you think it needs it.
- This is good with a salad or some other veggie; I’m thinking roasted carrots.