Stew is a generally a great go-to for home cooks during winter —simply throw bits of meat from the freezer or last night’s dinner and odds & ends from the fridge into an oversized pot, and forget about them for hours at a time. But the best thing about this stew is that it will actually appeal to vegetarians (and non-vegetarians!) alike, made with a hearty mix of cultivated and wild mushrooms, chewy ribbons of kale, and nutty brown rice or barley. Since it’s nearly spring (finally), we thought we’d get our last licks of winter and say good riddance!
Wild Mushroom Stew
(Serves 4 to 6)
1½ pounds of cultivated mushrooms, like shiitake, cremini or portobello
½ pound of wild mushrooms, like chanterelle or oyster
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon of chopped thyme
1 teaspoon of chopped sage
1 pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 small ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
2 cups of vegetable broth
Barley or brown rice, to serve
Clean the mushrooms and trim tough stems. Slice the mushrooms about 1 / 8-inch thick. In a large pot, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened and browned, about 10 minutes.
Turn heat to high, add the mushrooms and stir-fry until nicely colored, about three minutes. Lower heat to medium. Add the thyme, sage, red pepper and tomato paste. Add the tomatoes and kale, stir well, and cook for one minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of flour, stir to incorporate and cook for one minute more. Add 1 cup of the broth and stir until thickened, about one minute. Gradually add 1 more cup of the broth and cook until the mixture comes to a simmer. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve over barley or brown rice.