Harvest Season Menu: Autumn Mushroom Stew with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

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Photo By Joe Coca
Autumn mushroom stew with rosemary mashed potatoes is a hearty, warming dish, perfect for autumn's first cool day.

Autumn Mushroom Stew with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Makes about 6 cups; serves 4 to 6

Depth of flavor is the hallmark of any good stew, and this woodsy mushroom mélange is no exception. Leftover stew–if there is any–is delicious ladled over fettuccine or added to lentil soup or vegetarian chili. To sip? Pour a medium-bodied Rosso di Montalcino or, if the weather’s frightful, serve a robust Barolo.     

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 pound portobellos (about 2 large portobellos), gills removed
1/2 pound chanterelles or other wild mushrooms, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
14 ounces white mushrooms, roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups Mushroom Stock (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
Vegetable broth, to taste (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, rosemary and thyme and cook, covered, about 15 minutes over medium-low heat until soft and golden brown.

2. Add portobellos, chanterelles and white mushrooms; cover and cook 10 minutes or until soft.

3. Push mushrooms and onions to the side add garlic and cook about 1 minute or until it just releases its fragrance.

4. Add tomato paste, Mushroom Stock, vinegar and butter. Simmer 5 minutes. For a thicker stew, add puréed mushrooms from stock. For a thinner stew, add vegetable broth to desired consistency.

5. Add parsley, salt and pepper, and additional vinegar or herbs to taste.

Mushroom Stock
Makes about 2 cups

2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup (about 1/2 ounce) dried chanterelles or porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1. Heat vegetable broth in a saucepan until hot. Add chanterelles and remove from heat. Set aside at least 30 minutes, until plump.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet, add white mushrooms and cook 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, thyme, wine and plumped chanterelles. Bring to a simmer.

3. Sprinkle in flour, increase heat to high and cook uncovered about 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring often.

4. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer 10 minutes. Pour into a colander and press mushrooms to extract juice. You should have about 2 cups of mushroom stock. If you like, purée cooked mushrooms and add to stew for thickness. You’ll have about 1 cup of mushroom purée.

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Makes about 6 cups

2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes (about 6 large potatoes)
2 tablespoons butter, or more to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half, or more to taste
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon pepper, or to taste

1. Place potatoes in a large pot with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 20 to 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain, cover and keep warm.

2. Add butter, olive oil, half-and-half, rosemary, salt and pepper and crush with a potato masher or a fork until smashed but not perfectly smooth. Add more butter, oil or half-and-half to taste.

3. To serve, place potatoes on plates, top with mushroom stew and garnish with rosemary or thyme.

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