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Author Notes: I was in the mood for a hearty, stick-to-your-bones stew of sorts but really wanted it to be meat-free. At the farmers market this morning, I picked up a gorgeous parcel of mixed exotic mushrooms, and on the way home, I started envisioning a roux-based, saucy, unctuous gravy to spoon over rice- kind of like a mushroom gumbo of sorts. This was the absolutely scrumptious result.
This is meat-free but I used beef broth as I was out of mushroom broth. Feel free to sub in mushroom broth for a totally vegetarian meal. —em-i-lis
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter (unsalted or salted)
- 1 cup diced shallots
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2 large garlic cloves, divided
- 1/2 cup Cognac, divided
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1/2 - 3/4 pounds mushrooms, preferably a blend of several types (sliced or pulled apart into large but manageable pieces)
- 2-3 cups beef or mushroom broth
- salt, pepper, porcini sea salt (if you have it)
- cooked long grain rice, for serving
- chopped scallions and/or parsley for garnish, optional
- In a large cast-iron dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot set over medium heat, mix together the oil and flour. Cook, stirring continuously, for 20-25 minutes until you have a dark brown roux. Once done, remove pot from heat but keep close by.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and then add the shallots, half the thyme, and one clove of garlic (mince it). Cook, stirring, until the shallots are translucent; pour in ¼ c Cognac and continue cooking until everything is soft and fragrant and most of the liquid is gone. Season with salt and pepper.
- Return the pot with the roux to a burner set to medium heat, and toss in the diced celery. Stir to incorporate, about a minute, and add in the shallot mixture. Then add the mushrooms and gently stir everything together. Add the remaining ¼ c Cognac and 2 c of beef broth, and season well with salt, pepper and porcini sea salt if you have it (at least 2 tsp of it).
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more broth if you feel it's too thick. To serve, mound some rice in the center of a rimmed soup bowl and ladle as much mushroom saucy-gravy on top as you'd like. Garnish with chopped scallions and/or parsley if you'd like.