Mushroom Ragu

Posted By Kerri


I’ve had this recipe in my “to cook” file for a while, I found it online with with the promise that it’s vegetarian yet hearty enough to satisfy a meat eater.  We’re always on the lookout for meat-free dishes and this sounded promising, I have to admit to being skeptical about the satisfaction part though.

The method is very similar to that of a regular casserole, with the mushrooms providing the meatiness both in the cooking process and in the eating. It took a little longer to cook than the recipe said but it was very easy to make and filled the kitchen with an earthy aroma. It’s heavy on the wine and you can certainly taste that in the final dish but it was rich and full of flavour.

Did it pass the satisfaction test? Well, the addition of bacon crossed my mind more than once though and Stephen commented that it would make a good pie-filling if combined with beef so I guess not.  I don’t know if I’d make it again but it certainly wasn’t a complete failure (apart from in the photography category).

– 3 tbsp olive oil
– 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
– 1 large or 2 medium carrots, diced
– 1 stick of celery, diced
– 400g mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
– 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
– 2 bay leaves
– a small palmful of oregano or thyme leaves
– a small handful of dried mushrooms
– 1 glass of Madeira (Noilly Prat also works fine)
– a little plain flour
– 500-750ml vegetable stock
– 2 glasses red wine

Warm the oil in a heavy casserole over a moderate-to-low heat. Stir in the onions, carrots and celery and leave to brown lightly, stirring from time to time.

Add the garlic and herbs into the pan, then the fresh and dried mushrooms (including soaking liquid). Cover partially with a lid and leave to cook, stirring from time to time until the vegetables are soft, sticky and fragrant. This will take a good half hour.

Turn up the heat, add the Madeira and let it almost evaporate. Then sprinkle over a light dusting of flour, barely a level teaspoon, then stir it in, letting it cook for a minute before pouring in the stock and wine. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for half an hour. The mushrooms must be well covered with the liquid, so add more if necessary.

After 30 mins or so you will have a deep, glossy brown stew. Taste it, and add a little sugar, lemon juice or red wine vinegar as required. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Dec 15th, 2008

3 Comments to 'Mushroom Ragu'

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  1. Baby Bro said,

    This looks good, maybe a meaty version for our next ‘family meal’ at your residence? Well, just keep a portion meat free for someone. How heavy was it, looks full of flavour.

  2. Mrs Ergül said,

    I’m liking this! I love the intense colour of it!

  3. Stephen said,

    It was really full of flavour, but I missed the texture of a few pieces of braising steak in between the mushrooms. It would be good with some lentils or beans in it to give it a varied texture too.

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