Aromatic mushrooms in a delicious sauce with lots of herbs, a perfect vegetarian stew for this cold autumn days.
This must be my favorite mushroom dish. I love mushrooms and I eat them in many delicious ways, but this mushroom stew with herbs has a special place in our house. I have been making it for so many years, it was one of the first really good recipes I have learned to cook and it is a delight every time I make it again.
OK, I’ll admit a delight for me and my husband and all other people who ever got to eat it, except my kids. They absolutely hate mushrooms, more than they hate Brussels sprouts or broccoli or any other vegetable… And I cannot understand why. It started with Bruno when he was so little he could barely speak, mushrooms were the only kind of veggie he completely refused to taste, no matter what. Later on, when Perla started eating normal food she would eat mushrooms without a problem, but as soon as she was old enough to understand that Bruno won’t eat any, she refused to touch mushrooms again as well…
So, mushrooms are a thing from the devil, if you ever ask them. I gave up trying to convince them. I will never give up with all of the other veggies they don’t want to eat, they always have to try some, but I thought mushrooms can be the one big exception. I remember myself hating cooked peppers more than anything in the world when I was a child and how awful it was being forced to eat it in kindergarten. And considering how much I love cooked peppers nowadays, it might not all be lost. They might still start to like mushrooms when they are adults.
But don’t let my children put you off from trying this dish. If you like mushrooms just a little bit, you will adore them in this dish. A really perfect dish, if you ask me. I have been making it for so many years and there is not one thing I could think of changing, I think it has reached the superlative just the way it is.
I have another few recipes on Where Is My Spoon, which awake the same feelings in me: of them being so perfect that there is nothing I could imagine improving, dishes that were found to be wonderful by every single person who ever tasted them. Here are some of them, if you would like to give them a try:
How to make the mushrooms stew:
First of all, I have only ever made this dish with plain mushrooms (champignons ) either white or brown or a mixture of the two. You could probably make it with fancier wild mushrooms, if you wish, but they are rather expensive and very seasonal. The plain mushrooms are something you can get anywhere anytime and they fit this stew perfectly.
I never wash mushrooms, I think they tend to soak the water and loose their flavor in the process. But I do take my time to wipe them very thoroughly with kitchen paper. And do no throw away the stems, I know many people who do and I cannot understand them. Chop them and give them to the stew as well.
Otherwise, the rest of the ingredients are as easily available and cheap as you can imagine. Some herbs, a good sweet paprika powder and a bit of white wine and you’re set. I use milk to round up the taste of the stew at the end of the cooking process, but if you don’t care much about the calories, you can use heavy cream instead. And also you can turn this Easy and Delicious Mushrooms Stew with Herbs into a vegan dish by replacing the dairy with their vegan alternative like soy milk or cream or almond milk or whatever you like to use in this kind of dishes.
I almost always use low-fat milk to make the stew. And when using it, I prefer to take a bit of cornstarch to thicken the sauce. It is an optional step, it makes the sauce a bit thicker and I like it like that, but if you prefer a thinner sauce, you can leave it the way it is. The thickening of the sauce is not necessary if you use heavy cream instead of milk, that will give the stew its right consistency.
How to serve the mushroom stew:
Preferably immediately after cooking. It can be reheated like any other stew, but I find it best when served immediately.
And you can be very creative when it comes to the side dish for this mushrooms stew. Our first choice is always polenta. It fits the stew perfectly and the best about it is that while the husband and I are enjoying the mushroom stew over polenta, the kids can have their polenta with cheese and yogurt and then there will be no complains at all at the table.
But other delicious alternatives are Semmelknödel – German bread dumplings, Spätzle – Swabian noodles or any kind of noodles actually or rice. A nice green salad and maybe a dollop of Greek yogurt and you will have a complete, healthy, and utterly delicious meal in no time.
And although this recipe is so cheap and easy to make, it is definitely something to serve to guests as well, you can be sure that unless they have a mushroom phobia like my kids, they will adore it. Just don’t do it like I did the last time I served this to guests: I prepared the dish for a small crowd and I mistook the paprika powder jar with the cayenne pepper jar, so I put 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper in the food. It was the hottest dish I have ever tasted. I tried to save it a bit by pouring almost two cups of heavy cream and more broth in the stew, but it didn’t really help, it was soooo hot. We still ate it though, with tears in our eyes and lots and lots of noodles, it still tasted good! 🙂
- 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs white or brown mushrooms
- 2 onions
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika powder
- 150 ml/ 2/3 cup white wine
- 150 ml/ 2/3 cups good quality vegetable broth
- 150 ml/ 2/3 cups milk or heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch, optional, not necessary if using heavy cream
- 1 bunch parsley or chives
- 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice or to taste
- salt and pepper
Clean the mushrooms, by wiping them carefully with kitchen paper to remove any dirt that might stick to them. I never wash mushrooms, I don't think it is good for them. Halve or quarter the mushrooms, depending on their size. If they are very small, you can leave them whole, the dish will look particularly pretty in this case. Chop the stems in 2 or 3 pieces as well. Set aside.
Finely chop the onions and the garlic cloves.
Heat the oil and the butter in a stew pot and cook the onions and the garlic until the onions are translucent. Add the mushrooms, cover the pot and leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sweet paprika powder and some salt and pepper. Stir to coat the mushrooms with the spices.
Add the white wine and let it bubble off completely. Add the vegetable broth, cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes.
Shortly before the end of the cooking time, whisk the milk and the cornstarch together in a small bowl. Slowly pour the mixture into the pot while whisking all the time. Stir well and let cook for another two minutes or so until the sauce thickens slightly.
If you are using heavy cream, the cornstarch will not be necessary. Just stir the cream into the dish and let cook for a couple of minutes as well or until the sauce thickens slightly.
Adjust the taste with the lemon juice and more salt and pepper. Chop the herbs and sprinkle the stew with them. Serve immediately with one of the above-mentioned side dishes.