WINE WITH…Mushrooms Bourguignon
Boeuf Bourguignon is a wonderful dish to eat in any season although most people seem to find it an especially gratifying winter dish to be savored…like, say, right now. I’ve recently been enjoying a riff on the traditional BB by substituting mushrooms for the beef. I know, I know, this seems like
gourmet sacrilege but trust me, it’s a delicious, nutritious, simple-to-make variation on the beloved classic. While I sometimes include bacon and even beef stock in this recipe (just to “beef things up,” so to speak), in this particular instance I wanted to keep the basic flavors simple and uncluttered. I did include a few button mushrooms but mostly I used sliced shitakes, whose firm texture is almost beefy. These mushrooms can be simmered for a long time without disintegrating or getting mushy as they absorb the flavors of wine and seasonings. For a little extra “oomph” you could certainly add a mirepoix (diced carrots, onions and celery), or Holy Trinity (similar to Mirepoix but with bell pepper instead of carrots), or soffrito (a more freewheeling blend of all the above ingredients plus, perhaps, garlic, parsley and or cilantro).
Like Boeuf Bourguignon itself, this mushroom variation may be served over rice, noodles, polenta or generous slices of toasted garlic-rubbed French bread. Is garnishing the dish with minced parsley going a step too far?
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
About 2 pounds mushrooms sliced about ½ inch thick (leave stems attached)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon thyme
1 small bay leaf
About 2 teaspoons Sriracha or other similar chili sauce to taste (optional)
1 cups mushroom or vegetable broth (or water)
1 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the oil and chopped onion in a sturdy skillet and simmer over medium heat until the onions until soft. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have begun to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, thyme, Sriracha, bay leaf, broth and wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are very soft and about half the liquid has cooked off. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Not surprisingly, red wine is the tradition here since the mushrooms have been braised in red wine. Traditionally, of course, Pinot Noir, Burgundy’s signature wine, would be the first choice, but if you want to use another flavorful but not too heavy (or sweet) red wine that’s fine too.
Chateau Mont-Redon, Côtes Du Rhône (Rhône Valley, France) Réserve 2017
($17 Frederick Wildman): This Grenache-Syrah blend is pleasantly fruity without being overtly sweet. That touch of fruit makes a fine partner for the earthy, lightly spicy mushrooms.
Kin&Cascadia, Willamette Valley (Oregon), Pinot Noir 2017
($16): An inexpensive and light wine from Oregon, Kin&Cascadia Pinot Noir seems made for a dish such as this. The wine’ refreshing acidity, delicate texture and subtle red fruit flavors are right in step with the straightforward mushrooms.
Goldeneye, Anderson Valley (California) Confluence Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
($86): How about taking the experience up a notch in price and power? This remarkably adaptable California Pinot Noir is loaded with deeply flavored fruit and is also infused with distinct earthiness that fits nicely with the mushroom’s own notes of earth and spice.