For many reasons, I have been trying to cut back on our consumption of meat lately. I'm going with the opposite of the meatless Monday trend. I'm trying to make the majority of our meals meatless with only one special meal that includes meat each week, or maybe a couple meals with a much smaller serving of meat such as soups or stews. Like I said, there are many good reasons to make the switch to eating less meat and they all have come into play in my decision, but I also have to say that I am enjoying the challenge of coming up with easy weeknight non-meat meals. This one isn't technically vegetarian as it includes beef broth, but you could easily substitute vegetable broth if you were indeed looking for a true vegetarian dish.
I was inspired to make this after I saw fresh pearl onions in the grocery store. I thought it would be fun to give them a try. They are kind of fussy for a weeknight meal however, the peeling of all those little onions was more than I really wanted to take on. The second time I made the dish I used frozen pearl onions and noticed little in the way of difference in flavor, but the substitution brought the dish from special weekend meal to a possible weeknight dinner. I served the mushrooms over whole wheat egg noodles, the hearty whole wheat flavor was a nice compliment to the mushrooms, but I could see this served over rice or mashed potatoes too.
Have you ever peeled fresh pearl onions? What did you think, worth the effort?
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoons butter
2 pounds cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup full-bodied red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups beef broth (substitute vegetable broth to make recipe vegetarian)
Whole Wheat Egg noodles, for serving
Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven over high heat. Cook the mushrooms and pearl onions until they begin to brown slightly, about three or four minutes. Remove them from pan and set aside.
Lower the heat to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots, yellow onions, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute. Stir in flour quickly to coat vegetables.
Add the wine to the pot, scraping any brown bits off the bottom, then turn the heat up and reduce wine by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms and pearl onions with any juices, and once the liquid has come to a boil, reduce the temperature to a simmer for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender.
If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream (optional) and sprinkle with chives or parsley.