Mushroom Bourguignon with Roasted Carrots

This is a recipe I reserve for cold weather. I imagine a snowy Sunday afternoon, a plate or two of creamy mashed potatoes with large ladles of this Bourguignon flowing over the potatoes an onto my plate and a bottle of delicious 2012 Beaune Premier Cru within arm’s length. And after that…well, just point me to the couch!

My rich vegan interpretation of Bourguignon is obviously excellent when the weather is cold…but just a hint of coolness is certainly enough if you’re craving a meal that warms you from the inside. Just be aware…this recipe takes a few hours to prepare. I suggest a time when you want to get lost in the kitchen without any time constraints.

The richness of the gravy…sauce…stew – or whatever you decide to call it – is dependent on using a strong umami broth. I recommend making this portion of the recipe a day or two in advance. Roasting the carrots and browning the pearl onions and mushrooms adds even more intensity to the dish – it’s important to make sure you allow enough time to go through these steps as outlined below.

Difficulty: moderate
Yield: makes about 6-8 servings

  • 6 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 8-10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt

  • 125 grams (1/4 pound) pickled pearl onions

  • 500 grams (1 pound) brown or white button mushrooms

  • 4 medium onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

  • 30 grams (2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour

  • 250 ml (1 cup) red wine (preferably burgundy)

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) umami broth

  • 6-8 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the chopped carrots into a medium-sized bowl. Add 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Toss the carrots well to evenly distribute the salt. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Roast the carrots in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on the size of the chopped carrots. You should have carrot chunks that are cooked through, soft and have some slightly black edges. Put the cooked carrots aside.
  • Rinse the pickled pearl onions well. Dry them as best you can, then place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and mix well. Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the onions and all the oil to the pan. Cook on medium-high heat until the onions are slightly brown on most sides. Remove the onions and set aside.
  • Brush any dirty residue from the mushrooms. Quarter the mushrooms or slice them into thick pieces. Place the mushrooms in a bowl. Add 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Mix well to evenly distribute the salt. Heat a medium-sized sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the mushrooms – making sure to work in batches to avoid overcrowding. Cook on medium-high heat until the mushrooms soften and begin to turn color. Toss periodically but avoid mixing the mushrooms too much – just allow them to cook and brown in the pan. Continue the same process with the remaining mushrooms. Put the cooked mushrooms aside.
  • Heat a medium-sized wide pot over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add all of the sliced onions with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Stir to mix, then allow the onions to slowly cook over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil after 5 minutes of cooking, then allow the onions to continue cooking until they begin to turn golden. This process takes about 10-15 minutes – just be patient and take your time.
  • Sprinkle all of the flour on top of the slightly caramelized onions. Stir the mixture until it thickens into a loose paste. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes.
  • Slide the pan off the heat and add the red wine to the mixture. Stir well until it blends into the flour mixture. Return the pan to medium-low heat. Add the reserved cooked carrots, pearl onions and cooked mushrooms. Add the whole peeled garlic clove. Tie together the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary, then add to the sauce. Add the umami broth and stir well to combine. Keep the heat at medium until the liquids begin to thicken and before boiling. Gradually reduce the temperature to medium-low and cook the sauce for 60 minutes uncovered. Stir periodically to avoid having a skin form on the surface. If the sauce becomes too thick, gently stir in up to 240 ml (one cup) water. When finished, the sauce should coat the back of a spoon without easily falling off. Discard the bay leaves, herbs and whole garlic clove (this is delicious smashed on a piece of toast – a bonus for the cook). Add the chopped parsley to each serving and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper.

Jack’s Fresh Tip

I use simple button mushrooms for this recipe. It is perfectly fine if you feel like mixing in some wild mushrooms to enhance the earthiness of this dish. Portion them in thick slices and cook in the same manner.

I like using a good quality pinot noir from the Burgundy region of France, although most red wines work perfectly fine as long as they are not too rich in tannins.

Use fresh pearl onions instead of pickled ones…if you can find them. Drop fresh ones into boiling water for 1 minute, cool slightly and slip off the outer peel. Proceed as directed above in sautéing them.

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