Vegetarians (and friends of vegetarians) will like this dish because it's a celebratory meatless main dish. We like it because it's a bourguignon you can make on a weeknight. Where's the boeuf? Who cares? Adapted very slightly from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (Knopf, 2012) —Genius Recipes
1/4-inch sliced portobello or cremini mushrooms
pearl onions (thawed if frozen)
carrot, finely diced
small yellow onion, finely diced
fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
cloves garlic, minced
full-bodied red wine
beef or vegetable broth (beef broth is traditional, but use vegetable to make it vegetarian; the dish works with either)
1 1/2 tablespoons
Egg noodles, for serving (buttered potatoes or farro work well too)
Sour cream and chopped chives or parsley, for garnish (optional)
Heat the one tablespoon of the olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a medium Dutch oven or heavy sauce pan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms and pearl onions until they begin to take on a little color, but the mushrooms do not yet release any liquid — about three or four minutes. It helps to do this in a few batches. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Lower the flame to medium and add the second tablespoon of olive oil. Toss the carrots, onions, thyme, a few good pinches of salt and a several grinds of black pepper into the pan and cook for 10, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for just one more minute.
Add the wine to the pot, scraping any stuck bits off the bottom, then turn the heat all the way up and reduce it by half. Stir in the tomato paste and the broth. Add back the mushrooms and pearl onions with any juices that have collected and once the liquid has boiled, reduce the temperature so it simmers for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender.
Combine remaining butter and the flour with a fork until combined; stir it into the stew. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency. Season to taste.
To serve, spoon the stew over a bowl of egg noodles, dollop with sour cream and sprinkle with chives or parsley (optional).
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Creative Director Kristen Miglore.