When we were in Paris last year, we had the best beef bourguignon at a small restaurant where the tables were so close together that it felt like you were actually eating dinner with the strangers next to you. I have always been a fan of beef stew. I have memories of my aunt’s beef stew, but unfortunately I do not have the recipe. I remember how tender everything was and how each bite was just delicious. I often try to replicate my memory of it, but it never comes out quite right.
The beef bourguignon was nothing like my aunt’s comforting stew. It was much more refined with much stronger flavors. Although I really love beef stew in all its forms, I rarely finish all of the meat in the dish. I much rather have a little piece of meat with lots of veggies that have borrowed flavors from the meat. When I came across this recipe for Mushroom Bourguignon I thought that it was a fantastic idea. When I explained what I was cooking to my husband, I believe that he was a bit confused that there was no meat. The sauce was very tasty, and although I used regular white button mushrooms instead of portabella or cremini, it turned out well. I especially liked the pearl onions, which gave the sauce a sweeter taste. However, I must admit that while we were eating, I did say…this is good, but would be great with a little beef in it.
Mushroom Bourguignon (adapted from SmittenKitchen)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 pounds mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices
1/2 carrot, finely diced (or handful of baby carrots)
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup full-bodied red wine (I used Malbec)
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup pearl onions, peeled
¼ teaspoon of fresh ground pepper
Pinch of salt
In a Dutch oven or large sauce pan, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Throw the mushrooms into the pot, but do not crowd them. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken. About three or four minutes. Remove mushroom and set aside.
Then add a tablespoon of olive oil, and sauté the carrots, onions, thyme, a pinch of salt and ¼ tsp of fresh ground pepper until onions are slightly browned. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine. Turn the heat on high, and reduce wine by half. Then add tomato paste and beef broth and stir until combined. Add the mushrooms with any juices that have collected. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce temperature to low, so it simmers for about 20 minutes. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.
In a small bowl, combine butter and the flour with a fork. Stir it into the stew. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Boil egg noodles. Serve mushroom sauce atop a bed of egg noodles.