Friday, February 3, 2012

Porcini + Portobello Mushroom Bourguignon over Smashed Potatoes

A French/vegetarian alliance is always a hit. We sometimes get ambitious and put together an all-out French food extravaganza, and the main attraction is always my version of the French classic, beouf bourguignon, made vegetarian with mushrooms and a very "beefy" broth consisting of red wine and porcini mushrooms. Serve this dish over some crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside smashed fingerling potatoes.

The bourguignon has a lot of steps but is actually simple to make. Set some time aside on a weekend day to make this vegetarian version of a comfort food classic. It's shockingly full of flavor, and even the leftovers are great.

Porcini + Portobello Mushroom Bourguignon over Smashed Potatoes
(serves 4-6)

5 large portobello mushroom caps (cut into large chunks)
sea salt and cracked pepper (to taste)
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter (Use olive oil to make this dish vegan.)
5 large carrots (cut into large chunks)
15 fire-roasted pearl onions (recipe follows)
1/3 cup French lentils
porcini mushroom broth (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon flour
8-12 smashed fingerling potatoes (recipe follows)
1/4 cup chopped parsley for garnish

Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the mushroom chunks in a two tablespoons of butter or oil until nicely browned. This is best done in batches. Remove mushrooms and set aside in the fridge. You will add them back to the pot later. 

Add the carrots and onions to the pot. Once they begin to brown, add the lentils, onions, and enough of the porcini mushroom broth to cover. Stir. Put a lid on it and reduce mixture to a simmer for about an hour and a half. Remove vegetables from the broth and set aside with the mushrooms.

Crank the heat up to high as to reduce the broth by 1/3. Remove the reduced broth from the pot and set aside in a heat-proof bowl. Check broth for seasoning and adjust. Add the flour and butter to the pot. Allow mixture to cook until nutty and fragrant. Add the broth back to the pot with the roux. Mix with a whisk to work out any lumps. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. The sauce should look velvety and slightly thick. Add the mushrooms and vegetables back to the pot and coat them with the velvety sauce. Bring everything up to temperature just before serving. Serve over smashed fingerling potatoes and garnish with parsley.

Fire-Roasted Pearl Onions

15-20 pearl onions

Toss onions onto a hot gas grill until the outer skin is nice and charred on all sides; this should only take a few minutes per side. Remove and place into a covered container to cool. Once cool, the onions will slip right out of their charred skin. This is a great way to add smoke and flavor to any dish.

Porcini Mushroom Broth

1 white onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 ribs celery
2 medium carrots
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup parsley
6 sprigs thyme
1/2 lemon
2 bay leaves
teaspoon sugar
teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine (We used Independent Producers Merlot)
3 cups water

Process the onion in a food processor until it's broken down. In a stock pot over medium-high heat, sweat the onions in the olive oil until onion is translucent. Process the carrots and celery in the same way; now add them to the pot. Add the dried mushroom and the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover, and allow mixture to cook for 20-25 minutes. Strain out all of the vegetables and discard. Return stock to the stovetop with the heat on high and reduce stock by about 1/3.

Smashed New Potatoes

12 medium new potatoes
1/4 cup canola oil
sea salt (to taste)
cracked black pepper (to taste)

(Basically, you do this: Bake. Smash! Fry. If needed, we've helpfully included more detailed directions  below.)

Bake (clean) new potatoes in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove them and allow them to cool. Smash the potatoes hard enough to flatten them, but no so hard to turn tim into dust -- get out all that 
stress! -- with the bottom of a frying pan. Pan fry the smashed potatoes in the canola oil in a 10-inch frying pan over medium high heat. You just need to crisp the outside since the potato is already cooked through; this should take about 3 minutes per side. Remove them and drain them on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. They taste better than regular old french fries because you get the baked potato flavor as well as the crispy crunch.


  1. Mushrooms aren't listed in the ingredient list for the broth.

  2. good catch. in rewriting it to make it simpler, i left out a very important ingredient.