Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

I watched the Julia Childs movie Julie/Julia a few years ago whilst living alone in New York. I loved writing and cooking, so although I’m not a huge movie buff, it was a natural choice for me on one of my “do nothing” days (I’ll talk about those next!). A large part of the movie – from what I now remember – centered on Julie’s ability to cook boeuf bourguignon. After hours of prep work, it was a flop – and I was intrigued. As a vegetarian, I wasn’t about to try the exact recipe myself, but I wanted to find something equally impressive and comforting for cold winter days.

Enter Smitten Kitchen, a decidedly-delicious blog made up of “comfort foods stepped up a bit,” in their own words. Though this was the first Smitten Kitchen recipe I tried a couple years ago, it hasn’t been the last. It’s a favorite and I served this to some non-vegetarian friends over the holiday weekend, and unfortunately, we devoured it too quickly for me to get a photo. I don’t think anybody wants to see a photo of my simmering red wine, so I’ll circle back when I make this again. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2-3 pounds sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pearl onions, peeled (thawed if frozen)
  • Pappardelle pasta, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms until they begin to darken, but not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan.
  2. Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.
  3. Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce the liquid by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms with any juices that have collected and, once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender. Add the pearl onions and simmer for five minutes more.
  4. Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.

Notes

Recipe barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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