Friday, March 11, 2011

Mushroom Stifado

In addition to being one of my favorite dishes, mushroom stifado is Lent friendly. I actually have access to a kitchen this week because I'm visiting my parents, so I thought I'd walk you through the recipe. The one I work from is based mostly on this, with a few changes.

"Only let me tell you, Rakitin, that though I am
bad, I did make a wonderful onion stew."
1/2 cup vegetable oil. The recipe says olive oil; I think any kind of oil is probably fine and vegetable oil is Lent appropriate. The recipe also says to use 1 cup-- the first time I made this I did that and it came out way too oily. This time I used 3/4 and it was still much too greasy for my taste, so I say go with 1/2.
3 to 4 medium onions. My rule here is one onion per person-- that may sound crazy, but it isn't, I promise.
2 cloves garlic, sliced. I didn't have any garlic cloves and used about a teaspoon of minced garlic instead, but then I don't like garlic very much-- use more or less to taste.
When in doubt, chop another onion. Seriously.
1 1/2 lb mushrooms, halved. I'm not the kind of person who measures things when she cooks, so I have no idea how many mushrooms I actually used-- just make sure you use roughly twice as much mushroom as onion. It doesn't really matter what kind you use; this time I used a basic white mushroom but crimini or portabello works nicely too. Leave them in pretty big chunks, and for the love of all that is good in the world don't throw away the stems-- I have no patience for you people. There is no reason not to eat perfectly good mushroom stems, especially in a stew.
1/2 cup red wine vinegar.
1 1/4 cup pulped tomatoes. I just used canned peeled tomatoes. If you do that, be sure to chop them up a bit before throwing them in the pot-- they should still be in large chunks, but not whole.
1 stick cinnamon. This is the kind of ingredient I tend to end up ignoring when I cook, and really, it's true that the dish will still be perfectly edible without the cinnamon, but your kitchen will be a wonder to behold if you have it. Throw in two if you like.
1 bay leaf. Didn't have any bay leaves this time around, but go for it if you have some.
1 teaspoon sea salt.
It begins.
1 teaspoon grated pepper. The recipe says 1/4 teaspoon, but that is too small an amount for anyone to care about, and I like pepper.


1. This is a one pot recipe folks-- everything listed up there goes into the pot together, so bear that in mind when figuring out what size pot to use. Warm the oil in it for a bit, then add the onions.

2. Swirl 'em a round a bit (medium heat), keep 'em in there till they soften and get a bit translucent.

3. Add garlic, cook for another minute or so.

4. Add mushrooms, stir around till they're all coated with oil, continue cooking on medium heat about five minutes.
Nearly done!

5. Add red wine vinegar, stir.

6. Add tomatoes, cinnamon, bay leaf, salt, pepper, stir, combine well.

7. The liquid should almost cover all the ingredients, but not quite. If there isn't enough, add water.

8. Cook uncovered on low-medium heat (erring on the low side to make sure none of it scorches) for about an hour, or until most of the liquid reduces. Stir every so often to prevent sticking, more often as it cooks longer.

I served it over a basic rice pilaf, but you could also serve it over noodles, potatoes, or simply with bread. Should yield about three to four servings; two to three if you're cooking for guests.
Plating is not my forte.

What I look like while cooking this:

(Why someone bothered uploading this video, I could not say.)

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