I cant lie, as a new vegan sometimes I am attracted to the idea of eating meat, especially as the cold weather brings stew season. Temptation will not get to me this time! This stew is my hero. Its packed with rich umami flavor, and has a nice hearty bite to it from the carrots and mushrooms. It follows a classic french technique I learned in culinary school called pincage. Did I mention there’s wine? Here’s how!!
The first step is to get some sort of fond going. Technically, this comes from meat being browned in a pan, but mother nature gave us something better: MUSHROOMS!!! You need to season with salt here. It draws the moisture out of the mushroom so you can get the golden brown bits to stick to your pan, and therefore into the stew.
Next, onions. Again, add a little salt. The salt pulls the moisture out of the onions which then will release the brown bits from your pan. We are building flavor here. Note that the bottom of my pan is very brown, but not quite black. Once its black it will be bitter, so make sure you are stirring all that flavor in.
Now, carrots and onions. Notice how largely they are cut. They need to cook for a long time to develop their flavor, so its important to leave them large enough so that they don’t lose their texture.
BEST PART: add the wine. I’m using a bordeaux because I like to give the pan 1/2 cup and myself the rest.
Next best part: the tomato paste. This is important. The tomato paste is going to really transform the flavor and texture of this dish to give us richness and mouthfeel. When you add it, you need to stir regularly to avoid burning. Keep on stirring and cooking until it is a deep mahogany color. This will take from 5-10 minutes, but if you are lucky like me you have a bordeaux to keep you company.
Once it color has developed, add your stock and cook covered for 30 minutes, uncovered for 15 minutes. This recipe takes a little extra time and love, but you get what you put into it and more 🙂
This mushroom stew gets a rich, deep flavor from the wine plus tomato combo. Its perfect for entertaining during the colder months!
- olive oil for cooking, divided
- 12 oz mushrooms, such as cremini, halved
- 2 small onions, chopped
- salt, divided
- 2 carrots, chopped large
- 2 celery stalks, chopped large
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- Step 1 1. In a small stock pot, heat the olive oil on high until it flows in the pan like water would. Don’t let it smoke! Add the mushrooms, then a pinch of salt. Continue cooking until they are golden brown, then remove from pan and save for the last step.
- Step 2 2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add a little bit more oil to the pan. Its okay that there’s still brown bits from the mushrooms, its actually a good thing. Add the onions and another pinch of salt. This will release the moisture from the onions and help you remove the brown bits from the pot by stirring all that flavor into the onions.
- Step 3 3. Add the carrots and the celery to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. I never peel carrots if I am cooking with them, but its up to you. Why waste?
- Step 4 4. Add the wine, this will deglaze the pan. This means its releasing all the brown bits aka flavor into the dish. NEVER ever wash brown bits down the drain. Ever.
- Step 5 5. When the wine is almost cooked into the veggies to the point where it looks just a bit wet, add the tomato paste. Cook and stir until it is no longer red, instead a deep mahogany color. Luckily, you have wine to keep you company.
- Step 6 5. Add the stock, bring to a boil. and pop in the oven COVERED for 30 minutes. When that’s done, stir in the cooked mushrooms and continue to cook in the oven UNCOVERED for 15 more minutes.
- Step 7 6. Serve it alone or over polenta (pictured). I have a recipe for vegan creamy polenta that is to die for. I also garnished with a leaf from the celery for a pop of color that actually tastes good.