Because why should the meat eaters get to have all the fun?
By now everyone has probably seen some form of Boeuf (Beef) Bourguignon through the many Julia Child books or movies. I love it. Basically it is beef simmered in red wine, mushrooms, pearl onions, and other good things. It’s delicious. It also takes time.
Why not have those flavors in a fraction of the time and effort and lighten things up in the process by skipping the beef all together. Mushrooms are “meaty” enough to fit the bill and spongy enough to soak up all that good wine sauce.
Here’s what you need:
Crimini or Baby Bella Mushrooms, Pearl Onions, Carrot, Garlic, Onion, Rosemary, Thyme, Beef (or Vegetable) Broth, Red Wine, Olive Oil, Tomato Paste, Flour, Butter, Salt & Pepper. Chives (or parsley) for garnish. (Optional dollop of sour cream not shown.)
To make this fully vegetarian, you will obviously want to substitute vegetable broth for the beef broth. If you’re just looking for a lighter, mostly meat free option, the beef broth offers more of the original bourguignon flavor.
This recipe uses little pearl onions that I absolutely refuse to peel. Buy a bag in the frozen section and set 1 cup of them out to thaw while you prepare the other ingredients.
I love mushrooms. Especially these criminis or baby bellas. They have more flavor than regular white button mushrooms and are a little sturdier to stand up to stewing or longer cooking without falling apart.
While we’re chopping, finely chop 1 carrot, 1 small yellow onion (I used 1/2 of a large onion, about 3/4 cup), and 2 cloves of garlic.
Strip the leaves off some fresh rosemary and thyme and chop 1 Tablespoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of thyme. If you don’t have fresh, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
Add the mushrooms and the defrosted pearled onions and cook over high heat. We want the mushrooms to sear and get a nice golden crust so a higher heat is essential.
Cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently for about 3-4 minutes then remove them from the pan before they start to release all their liquid.
You can see that mine have a bit of liquid but that is fine. Just don’t let them get too limp and soggy, they will continue to cook in the wine sauce.
Add 1 more Tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, turn the heat down to medium, and add the chopped carrot, onion, thyme, rosemary, and garlic.
Pour in 1 cup of good, flavorful red wine. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
Remember that the wine is the main flavor of this dish so use something you would be happy to drink. This is not the time to pull out the $40 bottle of wine but it’s certainly NOT the time to use “cooking wine” either. There are many good options in the $8-10 range. Apothic Red and UncensoRED are two of my current favorites.
Cook the wine sauce over high heat until it simmers, thickens, and reduces by half.
When I’m reducing sauce, I like to tip my pan when I begin so I can get a better idea of how much sauce I start with. Reducing should take about 4-5 minutes.
When the sauce has reduced to half, stir in 2 cups of beef (or vegetable) broth
and 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste.
Return the mushrooms, onions and any accumulated juices to the pan.
Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
While the mushrooms cook, make a butter/flour thickener for the sauce. This is an old French cooking trick called a Buerre Manié…kneaded butter.
Mix 1½ Tablespoons of flour (Gluten Free is fine) and 1 Tablespoon of softened butter together with a fork until they have combined into a thick paste.
Note – this is easier to do and less messy if you use a slightly larger bowl…
The butter adheres to the flour so that it dissolves in your sauce rather than making lumps.
Making a buerre manié is one of the best cooking tips I’ve ever learned. You can fix almost any sauce with a little butter and flour.
Once your mushrooms have cooked to tender, stir the butter flour paste into the sauce and simmer on low for 10 more minutes until the sauce is slightly thick and stew-like.
You can see by the sides of the pan how rich, thick, and lovely this sauce becomes in only 20-25 minutes.
If your sauce still seems a little thin, crank up the heat on the pan for just a minute or two and it should thicken right up.
Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Boil egg noodles (I used a little less than a 1 pound bag) in a pot of salted, boiling water until al dente – about 6-8 minutes.
For Gluten Free, serve over rice.
Garnish with a few freshly chopped chives (or a little parsley) and maybe a dollop of sour cream.
Technically this serves 4 people but I kind of pigged extra mushrooms out of the pot for my plate. If you are serving 4 dinner sized portions and are mushroom lovers, I would suggest adding an extra pound of mushrooms to the recipe.
Vegetarians rejoice! Meat eaters have nothing to complain about here.
This hearty, savory, and delicious recipe comes from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen cookbook.
It’s definitely a new favorite in our house!
Here’s the recipe – adapted from Deb Perelman
Now with working links (hooray) and gluten free options!