This vegetarian stew is likely to satisfy any meaty craving. This vegetarian recipe is based on beef bourguignon, a classic French beef and red wine stew — but without the beef. Mushrooms come in handy as the main ingredient. Mushrooms are not only known for their meaty consistency and heft, but they also contain glutamate, an amino acid that adds savory, rich umami flavors to food. True, they don’t have the same protein content as meat, but they do have a higher protein content than most vegetables and a plethora of nutrients. Mushrooms are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants, and they are low in fat and carbohydrates.
Take advantage of mushroom season and select a variety for this stew. Shiitake, portobello, and brown cremini mushrooms are excellent places to start. Choose those with firm caps and keep them in the refrigerator in open paper bags to allow them to breathe. To clean mushrooms, rub them with a damp paper towel and scrub them with a brush to remove any dirt. If necessary, run them under a trickle of water, but don’t douse or submerge them because they will absorb the liquid like sponges. Trim the ends of the shiitake and cremini mushrooms and thinly slice or halve them. Trim the stems and scoop out the gills to clean the portobellos. Cut the portobellos into bite-size chunks or slice them thickly.
Bourguignon de Mushrooms
Serves 4 to 5 people
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
212 pounds assorted mushrooms, such as portobellos, shiitakes, and creminis, trimmed and cleaned
freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt
4 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 thickly sliced carrots
3 minced garlic cloves
1 teaspoon thyme dried
two tbsp tomato paste
2 cups robust red wine
12 cup mushroom or vegetable stock, plus more if necessary
one bay leaf
1 to 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Garnishing with parsley
In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the mushrooms (in batches if necessary). Cook, stirring frequently, until they start to release juices and brown at the edges, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon oil if the pan is dry. Season the shallots and carrots with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook for 4 minutes over medium heat, or until the vegetables soften and the carrots brighten in color. Cook until the garlic and thyme are fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir in the tomato paste for 30 seconds to coat the ingredients and cook the tomato paste.
Remove the lid and continue to simmer for 10 minutes to slightly reduce and thicken the liquid. Season with 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. If desired, add more vinegar and salt.
Pour into bowls and top with parsley. The stew can be made up to one day ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to use, then gently reheat to serve.