Winter Portobello Stew (over polenta with meatballs)
My friend Phil made a mushroom gravy for a New Year’s Eve dinner party, and it was so flavorful and voluptuous that I’ve had mushrooms stuck on my mind ever since. I don’t highlight them all that much in my cooking–I’ll use them in a sauce, for instance, but it’s rare that they take center stage. This stew, adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, is like a love song to these earthy creatures. The mushrooms swim in a velvety, full-bodied gravy, that doesn’t feel heavy. I added meatballs and peas for texture, and served the whole thing over polenta. It was like someone’s nonna had whipped it up and served it to me at a wooden banquet table overlooking the rolling Italian country side. Wintery, peasanty, and completely delicious.
Winter Portobello Stew
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
1/4 c. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 sprig rosemary
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, diced, gills removed
1 pound baby bellos, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste (or regular)
1 1/2 c. stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
1 tsp sherry vinegar (I used 3/4 tsp sherry and 1/4 tsp red wine vinegar)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 pound frozen turkey meatballs
roasted tomatoes (optional) for garnish
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a med stock pot and saute the onion and rosemary sprig until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and pepper flakes, then remove from pot.
Heat half the remaining oil and saute the portobellos until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Add the remaining oil and mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the onions and portobellos back to the pot. Add the garlic, sun-dried tomato paste, and sherry vinegar. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then add the peas, stock, and meatballs. Simmer until the meatballs are warmed through. Add the butter and parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over polenta or another grain. Garnish with roasted tomatoes if desired.