For Christmas, Nicole got me the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I’ve been using the website for recipes for years now, so I was very excited to now own Deb’s book. It’s only been just over a month since christmas and we’ve already made three dishes from it (all of which were excellent – you’ll likely see many posted here).
So, this week’s post is our first from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – a Mushroom Bourguignon (that’s bor-gin-yawn). The dish is usually beef-based (often called Beef Burgundy, as the dish originates from the Burgundy region of France), but this particular dish substitutes the beef for a giant helping of cremini mushrooms (did you know that cremini, white button, and portobello mushrooms are all the same mushrooms? They’ve just been left to grow different lengths in time). The dish is fantastic and, while a bit labor-intensive in prep work, is well worth the work.
This recipe is from pages 151-153 of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
- 2 Tbl (30 ml) olive oil
- 2 Tbl (30 g) butter
- 2 lbs (905 g) cremini mushrooms, cut in quarters
- 1 cup (115 g) pearl onions, peeled
- 1/2 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- Table salt
- Ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup (235 ml) full-bodied red wine
- 2 Tbl (35 g) tomato paste
- 2 cups (475 ml) beef/vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 Tbl all purpose flour
- Egg noodles, for serving (or regular noodles, if that’s all you’ve got.)
- Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Rory’s notes: “Half a carrot” and a “small yellow onion” is pretty ambiguous. The dish will be tasty with almost any interpretation of those amounts, but for reference, I used roughly 100 grams of carrot and 115 g of onion (which was half of my carrot and half of my interpretation of a medium yellow onion). I think I would have preferred the whole carrot (~200 g) and the whole onion (~230 g) in the dish, but like I said, I think you’ll be fine anywhere in that range.
For mushrooms, the original recipe calls for portobello, but I think they would be too large if you get the large ones. I stuck with the cremini mushrooms and quartered them, and that was the perfect size. As well, I did the recipe with beef stock, but it apparently works just as well with vegetable stock if you want to stay 100% vegetarian.
For the pearl onions, you’re not going to want to peel these individually as it would take forever. I’ve linked to a video in the ingredients list that shows how to peel them a bit easier (though it’s still quite a process). While bringing some salted water to a boil, I cut the root end off of the onions and then, once the water was at a rolling boil, dropped the pearl onions in (unlike the video, I didn’t bring the water to a boil with the onions inside). I only left them for about 45 seconds before I strained them and then ran them under cold water. Finally, once they’ve cooled, I pinched the end and the outside layer of skin pops right off.
I’ll apologize in advance as I was a bit light on pictures this time, so I don’t have many of the cooking process – sorry!
Start by heating 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter in a very large pan (my deep 10″ cast iron pan wasn’t big enough) over high heat. Sear the mushrooms and pearl onions for about 3-4 minutes, until they just start taking some color. They shouldn’t start releasing juices yet, so if you start to see juices, remove them from the heat immediately. Set the mushrooms and pearl onions aside for the moment. They’ll continue to cook and release juices while sitting. As a side note, let the 2nd tablespoon of butter sit out and soften, as you’ll need to mix it with flour later.
Lower the heat to medium, add the rest of the olive oil, and start frying the carrot, onion, thyme, and “a few good pinches of salt and several grinds of pepper.” Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of how much salt + pepper I used, but if you’re concerned about over/under salting, you could probably get away with waiting until the end (while the dish is simmering) to salt + pepper to taste. Cook for ~5 minutes, stirring, until the onion is lightly browned. Add the minced garlic and cook for just one more minute, and then season again with more salt and pepper (unless you’re waiting until the end).
Add the wine (scraping any stuck bits if you have them), and turn the heat up to high. You want to reduce the amount of liquid by about half, which will take around 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the beef/vegetable stock. Add the mushrooms and pearl onions (and any juices that collected) and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes – until both the mushrooms and the pearl onions are very tender. While the stew is simmering, bring a pot of water to a boil and start cooking the egg noodles.
Finally, combine the flour and softened butter with a fork and stir it into the stew to thicken it up. Season to taste again (or for the first time if you gave it a pass on the previous steps) with salt and pepper and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. If the sauce is looking a little thin (more towards watery), let it reduce down a little longer to thicken it up. Give it a final taste and add any additional salt and pepper that you feel is missing. Serve it atop the egg noodles and, if you’re garnishing (I didn’t), dallop with sour cream and sprinkle with chives or parsley.
Finally – sit back with a glass of the leftover wine (I know I know, the picture shows beer – I was in a beer mood) and enjoy!