One of the things I thought I’d really miss when I first went vegetarian was winter stews – slow-cooked, deeply flavoursome, alcohol-infused, meaty winter stews with thick, rich gravy. It didn’t take me long to figure out some very satisfying vegetarian alternatives, but this mushroom bourguignon from Smitten Kitchen is one of the best by far.
As Deb says, “most of the things people thought they liked about meat they actually liked about the sauces and braises and spices they were cooked in” and I think this recipe proves that. It’s rich, indulgent, warm, and comforting. It’s everything you want it to be. And it’s very easily veganisable – just replace the butter with olive oil and away you go. Vegan French food win!
Deb serves her mushrooms over egg noodles, but I had mine with mashed potatoes and I’m calling it perfection. I did eat the leftovers with parpadelle the next day, and that was damn fine, too. Just pick your favourite carb and get to it.
Very slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
4 tablespoons Olive oil or olive oil & butter
900g-1kg mushrooms (I used portabellos)
1/2 carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
Heat a good sploosh of olive oil, or a combination of olive oil and butter, in a large pan. Cook the mushrooms on high until they colour, but don’t soften. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Saute the onions, carrots and thyme over medium heat until the onions colour. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook very briefly.
Pour in the wine and stir, scraping the stuck bits off the bottom. Bring to the boil and allow the liquid to reduce by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the stock.
Add the mushrooms and any liquid they released, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Mix the flour with 1 tblsp of butter or oil, then add to the stew. Simmer over low heat for around 10 minutes, or until the sauce is a thick gravy. Taste, season if necessary, and spoon over the carbohydrate of your choice. Top with a good sprinkling of the chopped parsley, pour yourself a nice glass of red, and snuggle up near a heater while you eat. You’ll wish winter would stay forever.