Tomato & Mushroom Thyme Stew

You wouldn’t know from looking outside that it’s a full week into January. The sun is beating down on us and the temperature is already into the 50’s at 11:30am. It should be frigid and windy; my face should be frostbitten and my eyes should be tearing from the bitter cold air. There should even be the chance of snow. January is stew time, but not today. And as much as I love more temperate weather like today, it’s disconcerting to find it at this time of year. So I’m going to talk about stew, anyway.

A little while back I made this mushroom and tomato stew, and really loved it. It cooked down enormously, as mushroom-based dishes tend to do, so you really need something else with it – sop it up with bread, mix it with pasta, or do what I did and serve it atop pumpkin pancakes. I can feel your eyes boring holes into me now. Pumpkin Pancakes? As the base for a stew? You’re probably wondering where I come up with this stuff. Honestly, I don’t know, but it works – so much so, in fact, that even if you don’t make this with pumpkin pancakes, the recipe would probably taste fantastic with the addition of some roasted pumpkin slices or a swirl of pumpkin puree.I also through in a hefty handful of spinach - maybe 1/2-1C per person - and really liked that addition, too.

One thing you need to know about this recipe is that it makes your kitchen smell like warm, wintry heaven. It will be hard to leave it alone for the time that it takes to cook down, but your patience will be rewarded. I absolutely loved this stew, and even though I don’t think I quite nailed it – it definitely needed more mushrooms, in my opinion (though I accidentally used a smaller measuring cup than I was supposed to), and maybe some beans, too – it was more than satisfying enough to convince me to tell you about it now.

As for the pumpkin pancakes, you’ll have to wait just a little bit longer.


Mushroom and Tomato Thyme Stew, courtesy of Beyond the Peel
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
1 large onion
6-8 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups roughly chopped mushrooms
2 large tomatoes, roughly 3 cups chopped
½ cup tomato paste
4 cups stock
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
grated parmesan and fresh thyme, for garnish

The Method
Slice the onion into wedges and set aside. Coarsely chop the garlic cloves, and combine with the onion and oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until the onions are translucent, approximately 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pot, and continue to cook. Meanwhile, dice the tomatoes and add them along with the remaining ingredients (save for the parmesan and fresh thyme), and simmer until the sauce has thickened and become stew-like in consistency, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.1 Top with the parmesan and thyme, if desired. Serve alongside bread, pasta, rice, pancakes, or just on its own (but where’s the fun in that?).

1Because I quartered the recipe, I only needed 45 minutes for it to simmer to the right consistency. If you’re playing around with the yield, just make sure you keep an eye on it around this part because time will vary according to the quantity of food in the pot.


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