Saturday, August 14, 2010

White Bean and Mushroom Stew

I love cooking shows, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that they invariably feature things I would never actually consider eating. The fun part is getting an idea for something I would eat, and then figuring out how to accomplish it; this is especially true when the inspiration is a recipe chock-full of objectionable ingredients, which was certainly the case with the prototype for this dish. One recent Saturday, it was Laura Calder making Belge-Ette de Veau (Belgian Veal Stew) on French Food at Home that got me thinking, "Hmmmm, take out the crème fraîche, 5 tablespoons of butter, and 4 pounds of veal shoulder (seriously? To paraphrase the good people at Food Fight: what kind of asshole eats a calf?), add some more herbs and vegetables, and we might have something going on here." The result was an unqualified success: a thick, filling stew that came together quickly and - with roasted potatoes and sauteed asparagus with hollandaise sauce on the side - made a lovely supper. I encourage you to try it, especially as autumn approaches and the weather cools off; your family will thank you, and so will the baby calf who gets to stay with his mama, instead of winding up in your stewpot!

(NB - I used canned beans because I had them in the cupboard, but soaked, dried beans would probably be even better; I'd cook them ahead with a few herbs, then just add them at the point in the recipe where I call for the canned ones.)

White Bean and Mushroom Stew
~ 2 tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 lb. pearl onions, peeled and halved
~ 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
~ 1 cup carrot, diced
~ 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, thyme, marjoram
~ 1 tbsp. dried tarragon
~ A few generous grinds of black pepper
~ 2 15 oz. cans cannelini (or other white beans), drained
~ 2 cups vegetable broth
~ 2 tbsp. Earth Balance, or other vegan margarine
~ 2 tbsp. flour
~ 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 cup chopped, fresh parsley

~ In a large, deep pot, heat the oil and saute the onions over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
~ Add the garlic, carrots, mushrooms, salt, thyme, tarragon, and the pepper, and cook another 5 minutes.
~ Pour in 1 cup of the broth, bring to a boil, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.
~ Add the beans and the remaining broth, and cook for 20 minutes more, partially covered (put the lid on, but crack it about an inch).
~ In a saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat, then add the flour, stirring to make a roux. Pour in the soymilk, and whisk for a few minutes until the mixture has thickened.
~ Add the soymilk mixture to the stew, stir to combine, and cook another 15-20 minutes, until quite thick.
~ Stir in the fresh parsley, combine thoroughly, remove from heat, and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds great! I'll have to try it when the weather cools down.