The Swedish Chef: Champignons Bourguignons
Soyez le bienvenu au cours de cuisine Française contemporaine. Aujourd'hui nous allons faire un ragoût aux champignons bourguignon délicieux, champignons bourguignons.*
And that is the extent of my French lingo skills. Although I use to live in Paris for a while, my French never stayed inside my head. So now my French consists of rather non-mentionable phrases which can't and shan’t be mentioned here... so on we go with today's vegetarian take on a classic dish.
A long long time ago, in a small Swedish town, there was a young boy who had a friend who didn’t eat anything that was alive, (except for the occasional yearly marinated Christmas herring -- isn’t that right Michael?).
And since I am a good friend of all living beings, spiders too, I thought this was a great idea.
So for three years I only ate what you can find in nature's garden and felt so healthy I never had any colds and always felt super energized. Then I moved to Meat Land (oink oink) aka Denmark and everything changed.
In Denmark at that time, 1997, the general idea about vegetarians was that they ate fish and chicken. Wrong! So after a year or so I caved in and had a HUGE bacon wrapped pork sausage, yuuuuuuuuuum, and that was the end of my healthy vegetarian lifestyle.
Naaah not really, but I started to eat dead animals again although very rarely. This recipe is all vegetarian and super delicious and have all the flavors of a “real” Bouef Bourgogne so let's do it, veggie friends!
As the name says in French it's all about champignons (mushrooms). I use porcini, portobellos, white and brown forest mushrooms, but any firm mushrooms will do since mushrooms tend to shrink when they cook. You should estimate about two cups per person.
Make a bouquet garni which is a bundle of any herbs you like. I used sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary and I actually chopped them all up instead of the traditional tied bundle.
You are going to need 4-5 cloves of garlic and a lot of petit red onions (three or so per person). Just peel them and leave them whole.
Alrighty then, chop the mushrooms roughly into bite sized pieces and we can start cooking.
It's best to use a cast iron pot that will hold the heat during the simmering. So heat the pan and in goes the butter...
YES, REAL BUTTER PLEASE!!!!!
And preferably French, I LOVE French butter. Anyway, fry the mushrooms, add salt and pepper to them and fry until they have browned and shrunk, then remove them from the pot and put aside for later.
In goes more French butter and fry the petit onions and add the herbs. Oshhh lala, that lovely smell of the butter, onions and herbs is fabulous.
After 5 or so minutes of frying onions it's time for the “bourgogne”. Well, actually it doesn’t need to be bourgogne, just some good full bodied wine and I usually use Italian ones.
And here's the tip of the day: when you have some leftover wine (which doesn’t happen too often around these parts) but when it does happen I collect it into a bottle, just mixing all kinds -- red and white separately of course -- and then keep it in my fridge. Then you always have some good vino for sauces, stews and etc.
Add wine to the onions. I used 2 bottles for my 6 guests.
As an alternative option you can use some good veggie bullion with the wine. Just wine is best though. Lower the heat, add a good spoon full of tomato paste and the fried mushrooms.
Spice it up with salt and pepper again and then it's simmering time.
Here's the trick: the longer it simmers the better it gets, and if you make it a day ahead, OH GOD, it's divine. I simmered it for 2 hours or so, until the sauce thickened up and you could taste all the herbs and veggies in the sauce. Leave it to rest for a couple of hours, then heat it up again when the guests arrive.
Time to eat!
Mashed potatoes are really great with the Champignon à la Bourgogne, but it can be a bit heavy, so I chose the Pennoni pasta instead. Put the pasta in a deep plate, pour some sauce over, dust it with Parmigiano Reggiano, and a little rosemary on top. Et voila!
Bonne chance dans la cuisine et bon appétit! Meilleures salutations de la chef Suédois.
*"Welcome to todays French contemporary cuisine. Today we will make a delicious mushroom bourguignon stew, Burgundy mushrooms."