David Tanis is an award-winning chef and cookbook author who’s always welcome in our kitchen. He’s also been a guest on the Food Republic Today podcast. Pick up a copy of his latest collection of recipes and prepare to see vegetables in a whole new light. Mushroom ragout is the simplest stew we know. Prepare to make it all the time.
This mushroom stew uses mostly cultivated mushrooms, with help from an infusion made with a handful of dried porcini, which adds deep flavor. (You may want to add some dark chicken broth too.) But do try to add at least a few fresh wild mushrooms. A half pound of chanterelles won’t break the bank.
As it simmers, the herbaceous mushroom stew gains character. Serve it as a sauce for pasta or polenta, or on its own with garlic toast.
- 1 1/2 pounds cultivated brown mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, or portobellos
- 1/2 pound pale wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles (or use cultivated king trumpet or oyster mushrooms)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- Salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped sage or rosemary
- Pinch crushed red pepper or cayenne
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 small ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 cups porcini mushroom or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Porcini Mushroom Broth (makes 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup crumbled dried porcini or other dried wild mushrooms
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 6 scallions, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups water
For the broth
Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain. The broth can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for future use.
For the ragout
Clean the mushrooms, keeping the two colors separate, and trim the tough stems; or, if using shiitakes, remove the stems entirely. (Save the stems for broth.) Slice the mushrooms about 1/8 inch thick.
Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and black pepper, and cook, stirring, until softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the pan and turn the heat to high. Add the brown mushrooms, season lightly, and stir-fry until nicely colored, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the thyme, sage, crushed red pepper, and tomato paste. Add the tomatoes, stir well, and cook for 1 minute. Season again with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with the flour, stir to incorporate, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the onion.
Add 1 cup of the broth and stir until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 1 cup broth and cook for 2 minutes. The sauce should have a gravy-like consistency; thin with more broth if necessary. Adjust the seasoning. (The stew can be prepared to this point several hours, or a day, ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before proceeding.)
Put the butter and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat.
When the butter begins to brown, add the chanterelles, season with salt and black pepper, and sauté for about 2 minutes, until cooked through and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and parsley, stir to coat the mushrooms, and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the chanterelles to the mushroom stew and serve.