Mushroom Ragu

A quick post to note a mushroom ragu. We first made this a year or so ago, and finally got around to having it again. In truth, it’s not terribly different from a jaegerschnitzel mushroom sauce, but for seasoning, and the presence of porcini mushrooms.

Ingredients:
4oz butter or olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 can of beef stock, or homemade stock (optional)
1/2 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup cream
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup cognac or white wine
2 to 3 cups of boiling water.
2oz dried porcini mushrooms, chopped
1lb button mushrooms chopped
1lb crimini mushrooms, chopped

Method:
In a small mixing bowl, make gross looking mushroom tea with the porcinis and boiling water. Let steep for 30 minutes, then squeeze them dry and chop them. Keep the liquid, straining it.

In a large covered skillet or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat, add onion, sautee until transparent. Add garlic, and cook another minute or so. Add all the mushrooms, and a good pinch of salt. Cook for about ten minutes, so the mushrooms release their liquid, and cook until its pretty close to dry. Deglaze with the cognac or wine, and cook it off. Add the tomato paste and cook it a bit in a dry-ish spot of the pan if possible, to reduce the ‘canned’ flavor. Add the herbs, and either a couple of cups of mushroom liquid, or beef broth or a combination thereof. I like some of the mushroom liquid, but not all of it. Simmer for about half an hour over low heat, stirring occasionally. It should reduce and thicken nicely. At this point, add cream, stir it in, add additional parsley or thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.

We prefer this ragu served over polenta or toast. Meatballs would make a nice, if indulgent, addition to the dish – and can be added at any point once cooked. We often have homemade meatballs cooked and ready to go, in the freezer. I’d probably add them during the long simmer – unless I completely forgot them, like I did tonight.

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