In the autumn you can find mushrooms sprouting wild in the woods, brimming in baskets at your local farmers market and tucked into little boxes at your local grocery store. And it's then, when the weather takes a chill, that you know it's time to make Mushroom Stew.
Bacon, red wine and good bone broth give this Mushroom Stew and deeply rich, savory flavor that's lightened by the addition of fresh, vibrant green herbs. Use a mix of mushrooms for the best flavor
Choosing Mushrooms for Stew
Mushroom stew offers a deeply savory flavor owing to its inclusion of slow-simmered beef, beef bone broth, mushrooms and the slightest touch of tomato paste. To amplify the stew's natural richness, choose a wide variety of mushrooms.
Each variety of mushroom offers a slightly different flavor - whether you use domestic mushrooms like the white button or wild mushrooms like slippery jacks, morels, or boletes.
If you're using domestic mushrooms, shoot for white button, cremini and shiitake. And if you're using wild mushrooms, use whichever delicious edible mushrooms you can find. Chanterelles give the stew a subtle, floral and citrusy notes. Alternatively, porcini and portobello mushrooms can give the stew a meaty quality and toothsome bite. Just as a variety makes a better stew, variety also makes a better mushroom butter and mushroom risotto, too.
Tips for Making Mushroom Stew
- Choose a variety of mushrooms. Every mushroom variety offers a slightly different flavor - some mild, some robust, some floral and some meaty. Use a variety of mushrooms for the deepest, richest flavor.
- Toss the stew meat with flour and seasonings first. Stews' rich, satiating broth comes from thickening the stew with a combination of flour and fat. You can make a roux, but tossing the meat with flour first is faster, easier and results in the smoothest texture.
- Scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. After you crisp the bacon, sauté the onions and brown the meat, browned bits will adhere to the bottom of the pan. When you add the liquids, scrape up those bits (also called the fond) to add flavor to your stew.
- Pay attention to your herbs. Woody herbs, like rosemary and thyme, and dried herbs release flavor with time and heat, so simmer them in the stew. Leafy herbs like parsley and marjoram are best added at the end of cooking, just before you serve the stew.
The Goodness of Mushrooms
Mushrooms give this stew a rich flavor and deeply satiating quality. And they're also good for you, too. Mushrooms are naturally rich in antioxidants, and they're also an excellent source of beta glucans as well as some B vitamins like pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and riboflavin.
Further, many mushrooms help support blood sugar regulation (1) while also supporting your immune system (2). And when you pair them with bone broth in this mushroom stew recipe, it's a natural fit for supporting the immune system during the cold months.
Mushroom Stew Recipe
- 1 pound bison stew meat
- ¼ cup all-purpose einkorn flour
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons finely ground real salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces bacon
- 2 medium yellow onions diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves chopped fine
- 1 pound mushrooms quartered
- 1 cup red wine
- 4 cups bone broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 bay leafs
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ cup chopped fresh marjoram
- Dump the stew meat into a medium mixing bowl, and then add the flour, salt and pepper. Toss the meat in the seasoned flour until uniformly coated. Set it aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Warm the olive oil in a Dutch oven set over medium heat, and then toss in the bacon. Fry the bacon in the hot oil until crisp, and then dump in the diced onions and garlic. Sauté them together with the bacon, until translucent and deeply fragrant - about 8 minutes.
- Toss in the meat, and cook about 5 minutes. Next, stir in the mushrooms and continue cooking them with the stew meat and onions a further 8 minutes.
- Pour in the red wine and beef bone broth, taking care to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir in the tomato paste, and then drop in the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Turn down the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, about 45 minutes until the meat is tender.
- Remove the stew from the heat, and pluck out the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and marjoram, and serve warm.
Above all else, slowly simmered soups and stews are flexible. Unlike baking, in which the slightest variation of ingredients, time or temperature can dramatically change results, soups and stews are adjustable. You can toss in a few extra vegetables for flavor, substitute one liquid for the next, and give yourself plenty of wiggle room on timing.
And once you get the hang of making this recipe for Mushroom Stew, you can transform it into something distinctly your own. Add different herbs, toss in some celery, add more meat (or less) - whatever you happen to like. Here's some of our favorite variations.
Add celery and carrots. Toss in diced celery and hunks of carrots with the onions to give the stew a brighter, sweeter flavor and a boost of nutrients.
Substitute bison or lamb in place of beef. Grass-fed bison pairs extraordinarily well with mushrooms, and makes a great stew, too.
Skip the wine, and add a little extra broth and another spoonful of tomato paste instead.
Skip the tomato paste and add miso paste instead, because miso's savory, salty flavor blends beautifully with mushrooms.
Add some pearled barley and cut down on the all-purpose flour. Barley, beef and mushrooms are made for each other.
Citations and References
1) Khatun, K., et al. (2007) Oyster mushroom reduced blood glucose and cholesterol in diabetic subjects. Mymensingh Medical Journal.
2) Xiaoshuang Dai, J., et al. (2015) Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) Mushrooms Daily Improves Human Immunity: A Randomized Dietary Intervention in Healthy Young Adults, Journal of the American College of Nutrition.