You guys. Yesterday in some sort of out-of-body (or out-of-mind?) experience, I posted a recipe for Halloween Cocoa Puff Marshmallow Treats. You may have double-checked that you’d landed on the right blog. *I* may have double-checked. So that happened. And they’re cute. But today I felt like I owed you some SERIOUS real food. Like, big guns, savory, borderline magical, simmering fall vegetarian happiness food. And. Not to brag, but even given that wildly overblown introduction, I think I may be overdelivering with this pair of recipes. Mushroom Bourguignone, adapted from Smitten Kitchen via Food52’s aggressively named yet totally worthwhile Genius Recipes cookbook — plus a weeknight-friendly recipe for classic Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, scaled to feed a family rather than a holiday crowd. This food makes me so incredibly happy. That is all.
Well, almost all. I’ll talk more about this cookbook when I put together a holiday gift-giving cookbook guide (once it’s legal to start talking winter holidays, which on Halloween it it definitely not). Happy Halloween, though! Hope it’s a fun and safe one for all.
I’m heading out to begin the Halloween marathon — not a long run, per se (though I will be hopping on the treadmill, too), but rather a pick up more small pumpkins than humanly carry-able, help with third grade class party, watch elementary school parade, rush home for trick-or-treaters (including teal pumpkin — just do it), help big kid get ready, head out trick or treating with little kid, drop into two parties, come home and see whether some tween dumped our whole candy offering into their pillowcase and then barfed on the porch, pick up the big kid, make sure no one is still painted blue before passing out kind of marathon. Send best wishes that I don’t hit the wall. Same to you. Have fun.
Talk to you soon.
This stew is so delicious I swear I could eat it every day for the rest of my life. Since it's exactly the kind of umami-forward dish I would (and have) put together on my own during autumns past, I struggled with whether to adapt Deb Perelman's recipe from Smitten Kitchen. But this version, with my own adaptations, is just right, so I went for it. I also wanted to introduce you to the cookbook in which I first noticed the recipe, Food52's Genius Recipes. More on this book in time for holiday gifting.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, divided
- 2 pounds cremini mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 large yellow onion, diced small
- 1 small carrot, peeled and diced small
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 generous sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 fresh sage leaf, minced
- 1 cup good, dry red wine*
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups good vegetable broth ( this is my favorite by far)
- 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour***
- Salt and pepper, to taste
In a 12-inch, heavy nonstick skillet,** heat one tablespoon each of the olive oil and butter over high heat. Add half the sliced mushrooms and cook without disturbing until golden brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Toss once and cook until some mushrooms start to brown on the other side (don't stress at all about flipping all of them perfectly), about two minutes more. Scrape into a large bowl and repeat with a second tablespoon each of olive oil and butter and the other half of the mushrooms. Set mushrooms aside.
In the same skillet, warm the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, Onions and carrots should be lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, thyme (stems and all) and sage and cook until very fragrant, a minute or two.
Pour in the wine. Turn heat up to high and simmer briskly until reduced by half. Stir in tomato paste and broth, then add back the mushrooms and all the beautiful accumulated juice from the bowl. If your broth is low-sodium, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon salt. If not, wait and taste at the end. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. (This is a good time to start the mashed potatoes.)
With a fork, thoroughly mash together the remaining tablespoon of butter and the flour in a small bowl to form a paste. Stir paste into stew. Lower heat to simmer gently and cook 10 minutes more. Sauce should be thick and glossy. Taste for salt and pepper. Remove or avoid thyme stems. Serve spooned over mashed potatoes.
* I would normally use a very full-bodied wine for a recipe like this, but most recently I added the Pinot Noir I was drinking, which is quite a bit lighter, and it worked beautifully. So as long as you're using a good red wine that you like to drink, it's allllll goooood.
**I've become obsessed with these eco-friendly, chemical-free pans in the past couple of years, by the by.
*** To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute a gluten-free flour blend.
Classic Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
These mashed potatoes are creamy and flavorful. I love that they're quick and easy enough to make on a weeknight. Most mashed potato recipes are scaled up for a crowd (and I love those, too, don't get me wrong), but this one is just the right size for a regular family dinner.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Peel the potatoes and cut into rough 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium pot and fill with water to cover by an inch. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender but not waterlogged, about 15 minutes. Drain and place back in pot. Mash with potato masher until reasonably smooth. (I prefer to mash before adding liquid so the potatoes don't get gummy.)
Place milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl or liquid measure and heat until just shy of boiling. Pour liquid into pot with potatoes, add remaining 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper, and stir together until creamy.