So, in case your Facebook friends aren’t my Facebook friends and didn’t let you know that it snowed the other day (who needs a weather app when you have Facebook on your phone?), it uh, snowed the other day. Ugh. I feel like snow shouldn’t be allowed to happen until December and/or the trees are bare. Also, I think snow is pretty stupid unless it cancels everything unpleasant and involving operating a vehicle. Or a shovel.
I do an awful lot of moping when it comes to winter. Sure, I love my red pea coat, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but once the warmth and joy of the holidays pass, I gird myself for relentlessly gray and cold January (and February, and usually March) with only my pea coat as a bright spot. Unless you have a birthday, nothing good happens in January. Everyone’s in the midst of a holiday hangover, trying to content themselves with carrot sticks and sad salads when really, the weather demands stews and roasts and scoops of mashed potatoes. In December, it’s dark at, like, 5 p.m., but the presence of Christmas lights makes that okay. In January, that early, undecorated darkness is like a giant middle finger.
See? It’s not even Thanksgiving – I have more than a month before the hated post-holiday winter sets in, and I’m already woebegone.
If you haven’t already guessed, this week’s flurries made me kind of grumpy – until I had the idea to make one of my top five favorite winter dishes, that is, and then I was pretty much just hungry all day.
Mushroom bourguignon is the first recipe I ever made from the Food Blog Queen Bee, and I’ve been hooked on it – and the blog in general – ever since my first bite. It never fails to transform a cranky mood. It’s the perfect remedy for winter blues, snow fatigue or just plain hating the fact that it’ll be months before you’re warm again. (I’m lying. I’m going to N’awlins soon [for work. Is my company nifty or what?], which I’m sure will have a similar healing effect. Oh man, I’m going to eat so many po’ boys.)
Mushroom bourguignon (adapted ever so slightly from Smitten Kitchen)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 lb portobello/baby bella/cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 carrot, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/4 cup beef broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tbsp flour
handful thawed pearl onions
egg noodles (or mashed potatoes, or polenta, or…) for serving
Heat the one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in saucepan over high heat. Add your mushrooms, toss to coat and sear until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from the pan.
Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss your carrot, onion, thyme, and some salt and black pepper in the pan and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. If you need to add a teeny bit more olive oil, that’s okay – I found I needed to do this. Next, add your garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the wine to the pot (and stand back!), scraping any browned bits off the bottom, then turn the heat back to high and reduce it by half. Stir in your tomato paste and broth, then add back your mushrooms with any juices that have collected. Once the liquid reaches a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are nice and tended. Add your pearl onions and let it simmer for another five minutes or so.
Combine your second tablespoon of butter and the flour with a fork, then stir it into the stew. Simmer for 10 more minutes, until the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.
Spoon over egg noodles and serve.