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Recipes: Mushrooms put a fun spin on a French dish and tacos

Mushrooms star in main courses so satisfying, you might not even miss the meat.

Mushrooms Bourguignon served with (clockwise from left) mashed potatoes, farro, and egg noodles.
Photographs by anthony tieuli; food styling by Sheila jarnes
Mushrooms Bourguignon served with (clockwise from left) mashed potatoes, farro, and egg noodles.

With their hearty texture and earthy, distinctive flavor, mushrooms make a terrific, substantial meal with or without meat. In a classic French boeuf bourguignon, mushrooms and pearl onions are garnishes for a beef stew. In the recipe here, they take the spotlight — with shallots in place of the pearl onions — bathed in a suave red wine sauce. Mushrooms also partner with Brussels sprouts in a chunky seasonal hash, and with smoky chipotles and cheese to fill tacos.

Mushrooms Bourguignon

Makes about 8 cups

To make a red wine sauce with the best possible flavor, steer clear of oaky wines. Serve this stew with warm cooked farro, barley, or quinoa; egg noodles or spaetzle; mashed potatoes or winter squash; or garlic bread.

3 tablespoons butter

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1½ tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered, or halved if small (about 18 cups)

Salt and pepper

15 small to medium shallots (about ¾ pound), peeled, 12 halved lengthwise and 3 finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

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2 teaspoons pressed or grated garlic (about 3 medium cloves)

2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon tomato paste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/3 cups vegetable stock

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11/3 cups medium-bodied dry red wine

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a very large, straight-sided sauté or braising pan over medium-high heat, melt 1½ teaspoons butter with 1½ teaspoons oil. Add half the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms brown, about 8 to 14 minutes. Scrape mushrooms into a bowl and set aside.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and repeat with 1½ teaspoons each butter and oil, remaining mushrooms, and the halved shallots; scrape the mixture into the bowl with first batch of mushrooms.

Return the pan to medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the carrots, chopped shallots, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 40 seconds longer. Make a clearing in the center of the pan, add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil, and allow to heat for a moment. Add the tomato paste and flour to the oil and cook, mashing and stirring the mixture, for 1½ minutes longer. Add the vegetable stock slowly, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the fond and combine. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 1½ minutes. Add the wine slowly, stirring constantly to combine. Add the mushroom mixture, ¾ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste, adjust the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is saucy, the flavors meld, and mushrooms and shallots are very tender, about 12 minutes longer. Add most of the parsley and remaining 1 tablespoon butter and stir to melt and incorporate it. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary and serve, sprinkling each serving with some of the remaining parsley.

TIP: DRY RUN

anthony tieuli
For the mushrooms to have the best possible texture and flavor, cook them until they have released all of their liquid and the liquid has evaporated. This allows the mushrooms to brown.

Mushroom Hash With Brussels Sprouts

Makes about 7 cups 

Some charring enhances the flavor of the vegetables, so don’t be afraid of small spots that look a little burnt. To add a meaty element, after charring  the sprouts, fry a couple of slices of bacon, use the rendered fat to cook the mushrooms, and add crumbled bacon to the skillet with the parsley. A good addition is fried eggs served on top or on the side.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound Brussels sprouts, preferably about 1 ½ inches in diameter, trimmed and quartered through the core (about 3½ cups)

Salt and ground black pepper

2 pounds cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered, or halved if small (about 12 cups)

1 tablespoon butter

2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise and each quarter quartered crosswise

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced into ½-inch pieces

1 tablespoon pressed or grated garlic (about 5 medium cloves)

1 teaspoon paprika

1/3 cup vegetable stock

1 teaspoon soy sauce

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the Brussels sprouts and ¼ teaspoon salt, stir to coat, arrange them cut sides down, and cook, undisturbed, until lightly charred on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir the sprouts and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until just barely tender, about 4 minutes longer. Scrape them into a bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until liquid evaporates and mushrooms brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. Scrape the mushrooms into a separate bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat, add the butter, and heat until melted. Add the onions, red pepper, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft and onions are turning golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 40 seconds longer. Add the stock, soy sauce, mushrooms, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ground black pepper to taste and stir. Adjust the heat to medium-high, spread the mixture into an even layer, and cook, undisturbed, until much of the moisture has evaporated and the mixture looks drier on top, about 9 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, stir and scrape the bottom of the skillet to mix and incorporate any char on the bottom, spread into an even layer, and cook until the sprouts are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Add most of the parsley and stir to incorporate. Adjust the seasoning with salt and ground black pepper if necessary and serve, sprinkling each serving with some of the remaining parsley.

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Chipotle Mushroom Tacos

Serves 4 (2 tacos each) 

Make sure the tortillas are warm and ready as the mushroom mixture comes off the heat. This recipe was inspired by one from the Mushroom Council.

1 large red or white onion, finely chopped, divided

1½ teaspoons butter

1½ teaspoons vegetable oil

Salt and ground black pepper

1½ pounds cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and quartered, or halved if small (about 8 cups)

2 teaspoons pressed or grated garlic (about 3 medium cloves)

2 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or more to taste, plus 2 teaspoons sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

8 5½- to 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed

¾ cup (about 2½ to 3 ounces) grated smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Colby, or Colby Jack cheese, or crumbled queso fresco

In a small bowl, cover ½ cup of the onion with cool water, set aside to soak for about 30 minutes, drain, blot dry, and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add remaining onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until they release their liquid and much of it has evaporated, about 9 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle pepper and sauce, and black pepper to taste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 40 seconds longer. Add the lime juice and half the cilantro and stir to mix. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. You should have about 3 cups of the mushroom mixture.

Working quickly, set two warm tortillas on each of four plates. Sprinkle each tortilla with about 1½ tablespoons cheese and fill each with about ‚ cup mushroom mixture, about 1 tablespoon of reserved onion, and a sprinkling of the remaining cilantro. Serve at once with lime wedges.

Adam Ried appears regularly on “America’s Test Kitchen.” Send comments to cooking@globe.com. Get the best of the magazine’s award-winning stories and features right in your e-mail inbox every Sunday. Sign up here.