In this era of COVID-19 quarantining, one of my biggest joys has been trying out new recipes. I’ve gladly tossed aside my quick-and-easy mindset to cooking, and I’ve replaced it with more complex undertakings that require 30-60 minutes.
I’ve also seriously considered buying a sous vide, a food torch, or a 5-lb tub of Nutella. My remaining sanity has kept me from doing any of these, but the day is young.
I’ve been diving more into European dishes lately, because that’s something I’ve never focused on. Who hasn’t dreamed about bragging to their friends, “I made cooking coq au vin last night“? (Only me? Okay cool.) But I didn’t have the time to sift through a long NY Times recipe that called for 1/4 teaspoon of every single herb I’ve never heard of.
Well, I’m here to tell you that dreams do come true.
So go on, fellow home chefs. And while you’re at it, enjoy the most odd and unexpected bonus: while stores are out of pasta and toilet paper, absolutely no one is stocking up on pearl onions and thyme. #winning
Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon
A classic dish with a vegan twist. It’s savory, earthy, and a little thyme-y. The long simmer time develops the flavors well enough so that you won’t miss the meat. Serves 6. Adapted from NYTimes.
- 2 lbs white or cremini mushrooms, cut into medium-thick strips
- 8 oz pearl onions, halved
- 4-6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 carrots, cut into medium-sized chunks
- 2 small leeks, cut thinly
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 splash soy sauce
- 3 large thyme branches or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Carb for serving: polenta, egg noodles, mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower (or rice, if you’re like me and have a 10-lb bag expiring in two months)
- Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to Dutch oven (or skillet, if you don’t have a Dutch oven). Once sizzling hot at medium heat, add mushrooms and pearl onions in one single layer. Do NOT move. Flip over when darkly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper, and do multiple batches as necessary. This step is very important, as the browning will give us that rich dark saucy flavor.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same Dutch oven (or a large saucepan, if you don’t have a Dutch oven and used a skillet for the onions and mushrooms). Turn to medium-high heat. Add leeks and carrots, and sauté until the leeks turn translucent and soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Add red wine, vegetable broth, soy sauce, and thyme. Scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom.
- Add cooked mushrooms and pearl onions. Bring to simmer, then turn down to low heat. Cook until carrots and onions are tender and sauce is thick, 30 to 40 minutes. Salt as needed.
- Serve with your favorite carb. Bonus points for making a puree with leftover leek, carrot, and/or cauliflower!
Et voilà! Bon appétit! Bonjour! That’s all the French I know – but this definitely won’t be the last French dish I make.
Are you ramping up the kitchen at home? What’s on your to-cook list?