I have been waiting so long to share this recipe with you all! Made from mushrooms stewed in a rich broth of wine and stock, this mushroom bourguignon is incredibly flavorful.
In the kitchen, time can be a magical thing.
Whenever I make a stew, I’m in awe of time’s ability to transform diverse ingredients into a cohesive dish with complex yet comforting flavors. To me, slow cooking is like giving yourself — and your food — the gift of time. It’s like slowing down to care for your food, to be patient. It’s why people say things like, “this dish was made with love.”
Over the summer, I found myself with a boatload of wild mushrooms, and I challenged myself to develop a dish that would coax out all their lovely flavors. Immediately, my thoughts landed on some sort of ragu or stew. These days, I eat very little meat. But when I first learned to cook, I spent a lot of time researching the best ways to cook meat, from pan-seared chicken breasts to lamb stews.
The inspiration for this dish
So naturally, when thinking about these mushrooms, I wondered how I could apply those learnings. Would a mushroom ragu taste more flavorful if the mushrooms were pan-seared and then braised like a traditional meat stew? I was eager to find out.
What is beef bourguignon?
I immediately thought of beef bourguignon, a French stew traditionally made with beef simmered in red wine and beef stock, often topped with pearl onions and mushrooms.
Chunks of beef and sometimes bacon lardons pan-sear until nicely browned and set aside. Then, onions, carrots, and other alliums saute in the residual fat. The vegetables get a light coat of flour which helps create a velvety, thick stew, and a splash of wine deglazes the pan. The meat is added back to the pot, along with beef stock, and the whole thing simmers until the meat is tender and the flavors meld into a beautiful, rich stew.
What makes this recipe different?
This mushroom bourguignon is a riff on the classic beef bourguignon. Inspired by Melissa Clark’s recipe from the New York Times, I wanted to create a meatless version. While non-traditional, this mushroom version is delicious.
- Wild mushrooms brown and crisp, then simmer in a flavorful stew of mushroom stock, red wine, and vegetables.
- Adding an anchovy fillet and miso paste provides a rich umami flavor to the mushrooms.
- Oregano, not traditionally found in beef bourguignon, adds a nice earthiness to the stew.
How to select the best mushrooms
Make this dish shine by cooking with an assortment of mushrooms with varying textures and flavors. Here are some of my tips:
- I like to go heavy on the meatier, less delicate mushrooms, such as oysters, shiitakes, and creminis, and then get a small quantity of more delicate ones, like black trumpets, chanterelles, or maitakes. But don’t feel like you need to pick up tons of different varieties. The dish will be delicious even if you do a 50/50 mix of shiitakes and creminis. My preferred combination is 50% oysters, 25% shiitakes, and 25% maitakes.
- Look for mushrooms with a plump, firm appearance; avoid those that appear dried out or soggy.
- Fresh mushrooms should have a subtle, slightly earthy smell. If they smell fishy or quite strong, they’ve likely gone bad.
How to store mushrooms
Place mushrooms in the fridge in a paper bag with the top slightly open. They need just a bit of air for circulation to prevent them from getting soggy. I typically find that my mushrooms will last up to a week in a fridge, but they’re freshest within the first 2 to 3 days.
How to prep and clean mushrooms
Depending on the type of cultivation, your mushrooms may not need much of a rinse. If your mushrooms are relatively clean, you can wipe any bits of dirt off with a damp cloth. On the other hand, if they’re covered in dirt, you’ll need to give them a good rinse in the sink.
Contrary to popular belief, washing mushrooms isn’t a bad thing! Mushrooms are already mostly water. So it’s completely fine (and often necessary) to give them a quick rinse. I usually rinse them, dry them with a paper towel, and then let them air dry for a few minutes before cooking.
Finally, do not wash mushrooms before storing! They will get soggy/slimy in the fridge. Instead, wash them just before you’re ready to cook with them.
Before cooking, remove any fibrous or tough parts of the mushrooms; these will be too chewy or tough to consume. Here are some tips:
- Shiitake stems are very tough, and while technically edible, they are not pleasant to eat. You can either slice or tear the caps into bite-sized pieces.
- Oyster mushrooms are typically clustered in a group, and you’ll want to remove the tougher central stem and separate them into individual pieces. I recommend tearing the caps into bite-sized pieces.
- For cremini mushrooms, cut off the very end of the stem (that’s the tough part). You can chop the remaining stalk into small pieces and slice the caps.
This guide on Cook’s Illustrated walks through how to prep every individual mushroom variety. I highly recommend checking it out if you want more tips!
Key ingredients in this mushroom bourguignon
We’ve talked a lot about mushrooms, but what are the other key ingredients in this recipe?
Alliums and aromatics
Garlic, onion, and carrots form the stew’s base, providing sweet earthy notes.
Anchovies and miso paste
I use 1 anchovy fillet and 1 tablespoon of white miso paste to amp up the umami, savory flavors here. If you want a purely vegetarian or vegan recipe, feel free to omit the anchovy.
If you’re afraid of using anchovies, consider this an opportunity for you to take the leap and try something new! I promise it doesn’t make the dish taste fishy, it simply adds a nice salty, savory layer of flavor.
I’m a huge, huge fan of Better Than Bouillon’s Mushroom Bouillon. Bouillon is great because it’s a paste in a jar that you can keep in your fridge. It has a long shelf-life once opened, and you don’t need to use up extra space in your pantry for keeping containers of stock. Best of all, it truly adds so much delicious flavor compared to a typical stock. You can buy it at any major grocery store.
Though a Burgundy wine is traditional, I say use whatever you like! I like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Make sure to use a wine you actually want to drink –and taste it before you add it to the stew!
How to make mushroom bourguignon
Here are the steps to make mushroom bourguignon!
- Pan-sear the mushrooms: Cook the mushrooms over medium-high heat until browned and crispy. The key here is to let the mushrooms do their thing; resist the urge to keep stirring them, or they won’t brown properly.
- Remove the mushrooms: Season them mushrooms, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
- Saute the aromatics: Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, and anchovies in the residual mushroom oil until they’re softened and the onions are translucent. Using a wooden spoon, begin to mash up the anchovy.
- Add the oregano and stir. Add the tomato paste and saute until it turns deep red in color and the oil begins to separate. Add the flour and stir to combine.
- Deglaze: Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping up any bits from the bottom. Simmer the wine until reduced and glossy.
- Simmer: Add the cooked mushrooms back into the pan, along with the mushroom stock, miso paste, and a bay leaf (if using). Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve: After 30 minutes, the sauce will have reduced significantly. It will look glossy and cling to the mushrooms. Garnish with parsley, then serve on top of polenta or pasta and enjoy!
What to serve with this dish
I highly recommend serving this on top of my mascarpone polenta. The rich, punchy, bold flavors of this stew pair really well with the creamy, mild flavors of polenta. The polenta is made in the oven, so it requires very minimal active work. You can multi-task by starting the polenta while the mushroom bourguignon is simmering.
Or, pair the bourguignon with some fresh pasta, such as fettuccine or pappardelle.
Alternatively, might I suggest serving this stew with some fresh focaccia? Imagine dipping the warm bread in the rich mushrooms…so good!
Storage and Make-Ahead Instructions
Leftover mushroom bourguignon can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
You can easily prepare the dish ahead of time, which makes it great for leftovers or a dinner party! In fact, like many other stews, the flavor will continue to marinate and meld as it sits in the fridge.
For a dinner party, you can make the bourguignon up to 2 days ahead of time. Then, when ready to serve, gently reheat it on the stove until simmering and warmed through.
Tips and Tricks
- Give it time: There’s no question about it – stews taste better with time. I highly recommend allowing this dish to simmer for the full 30 minutes. And if you feel it needs more time, continue to let it simmer over low heat.
- Monitor the temperature: As the liquid in the stew continues to simmer, it will reduce and thicken. With less liquid, you need less heat to maintain the same simmer. So, just keep monitoring things to prevent any burning. Lower the temperature as needed to continue to let it simmer gently.
- Adjust as you go (and to your liking): Season often! Seasoning goes a long way here to build up these layers of flavors. And feel free to adjust the dish to your liking. The finished stew should be rich in flavor, with a bit of acidity from the red wine, saltiness from the mushroom bouillon, and sweetness from the vegetables. Want more acidity? Add a bit of red wine vinegar. Want more sweetness? Add a touch of honey. Want more savory flavor? Add a bit more miso paste or an additional anchovy!
A sprig of thyme or rosemary would pair nicely with the earthy mushroom flavor.
You can use leftover tomato paste to make tomato sauces, soups, or even BBQ sauce! I have a great recipe for calabrian chili pasta that uses a lot of tomato paste. Or try these smoky beans with eggs for brunch!
Unfortunately, no. The wine is what gives this dish such a rich, complex flavor and glossy texture.
Did you try this recipe? I would love to hear your feedback! Be sure to rate the recipe and leave a comment below.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
Mushroom Bourguignon Recipe
For the mushroom bourguignon
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, and oyster mushrooms; cleaned, trimmed and sliced or torn into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and black pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 small white onion, finely diced
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
- 1 anchovy fillet, omit if vegan or vegetarian
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup red wine, such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot
- 1 cup mushroom stock, OR 1 teaspoon mushroom bouillon and 1 cup water (plus more if needed)
- 1 bay leaf, optional
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- A handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 batch mascarpone polenta (optional), recipe here
- Heat oil in a small (2.5 quart) dutch oven or braiser on medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Add the mushrooms in a single, even layer (if needed, do this in batches). Cook the mushrooms, leaving them undisturbed, until deep golden-brown on the bottom, about 3 to 6 minutes. Resist the urge to saute and stir these around, as this will prevent browning!8 ounces assorted mushrooms
- Once browned, use tongs to flip each mushroom and brown the other side, an additional 3 to 6 minutes. Mushrooms will have shriveled up significantly and appear crispy and browned on both sides. Turn the heat off.
- Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. Keep the residual oil in the pan. There will likely be some bits of mushroom stuck to the pan. As long as these aren't burnt, keep them as is (they add nice flavor)! If they are burnt, carefully remove from the pan.Salt and black pepper
- Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to the pan. Turn the heat on to medium and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened and the onions are translucent.4 cloves garlic, 1 small white onion, 1 small carrot
- Add the anchovy and a pinch of black pepper, and saute for 1 minute. Use a wooden spoon to slowly begin mashing the anchovy (it will continue to disintegrate over time).1 anchovy fillet
- Stir in the oregano and saute for 1 minute.1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Add tomato paste and saute for 1 to 2 minutes until paste turns a deep red and the oil begins to separate. Stir in the flour and mix to incorporate into the paste.2 tbsp tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- Add the red wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom or sides of the pan. Simmer until wine has reduced by half and the mixture looks slightly glossy and thickened.1/2 cup red wine
- Add the cooked mushrooms back into the pot, along with the mushroom stock (or 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon mushroom bouillon), bay leaf (if using), and miso paste, and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust seasoning for salt and pepper. Mushroom bouillon and miso paste are both salty, so be careful about adding too much salt! And keep in mind, as the stew continues to reduce it will become saltier, so I recommend adding a little less salt than you might want. You can always adjust later.1 cup mushroom stock, 1 bay leaf, 1 tbsp white miso paste
- Reduce the heat and simmer the stew for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end of the 30 minutes, the liquid should have reduced significantly, appear glossy, and cling to the mushrooms. If the liquid is reducing too much, add 1/2 cup of additional stock at a time. If there is still too much liquid, continue simmering until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then top with parsley and serve over mascarpone polenta, pasta, or enjoy with warm bread.A handful of flat-leaf parsley, 1/2 batch mascarpone polenta (optional)