My first weekend back in Chicago was a snowy, blustery one. Roofs were blown off buildings, buses were traveling at a comically slow speed, and I made a trip to the nearest shoe store for some very ugly, but very waterproof snow boots. I was back in the city for a brief visit in order to interview for two winter internships with the American Library Association. I'm happy to report that I will be able to accept both of them and I'm looking forward to working with and learning from the APA and ALCTS staff members.
After my interviews, I took the train back to Champaign in order to work for a few more days at my graduate assistantship before officially leaving for winter break. Amazingly, I managed to work ahead over 45 hours this semester, which will allow me pursue other work experience with my time off from school. Campus is covered in a blanket of snow and ice, and though it is finals week, many students have already left and everything is quieting down.
Tonight, I will take my sixth train ride in six days back to Chicago – and hopefully stay put for a bit. Long days of travel and bracing cold have me hankering for warm, hearty dinners like this mushroom bourguignon.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 Tbl olive oil
2 Tbl butter, softened
2 lbs cremini mushrooms, in 1/4-inch slices (no stems)
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C full-bodied red wine
2 C vegetable broth
2 Tbl tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 Tbl flour
1 C frozen pearl onions, peeled and thawed
Salt and pepper
Egg noodles, for serving
Sour cream and chopped Italian parsley for garnish
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and one tablespoon of butter in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Sear the mushrooms for three to four minutes. The mushrooms should brown, but don't cook so long that they release their juices. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the carrot, onion, thyme, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Add the garlic and cook one more minute.
Add the wine to deglaze the pan, and then turn the heat all the way up and reduce the liquid by half. Add the tomato paste, broth, and the mushrooms- along with any juices. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, or until mushrooms are very tender.
In a small bowl, mix one tablespoon of butter with the flour until smooth. Add this mixture to the stew and simmer for 10 more minutes, or until the stew has the consistency your desire. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the stew over a bowl of egg noodles with a dollop of sour cream and a small handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley.