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Earthy Mushroom Stew--savory vegetarian comfort food for a cold winter day

Updated on September 19, 2015
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5 stars from 1 rating of Mushroom stew

Something wonderful this way comes

Serendipity: [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]

Today I found serendipity--or it found me. I was shopping in my local mega-grocery store, and there in the produce section was a large plastic bag of button and cremini mushrooms. Not quite fresh, but not ready for the compost bin. And the produce manager had marked them down to half-price!

So now, my challenge was to create a dinner recipe that would focus on the wonderful taste of mushrooms and not worry quite so much about their appearance. Sure, I could have tossed them into a pot of spaghetti sauce, but I wanted to do something a bit more imaginative.

I had in my files a recipe from Sunset Magazine (October 2006) for "Mushroom Potato Soup with Smoked Paprika". That original recipe called for dried porcinis, pancetta, wine, and chicken stock. A great recipe, but I decided to play with it a bit to turn into a vegetarian meal that my entire family could enjoy. Here's what I did:

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 5 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups russet potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup wide noodles, (I used No Yolk egg noodles)
  • 3 cups mushroom broth, * (see note below)

Instructions

  1. Place olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat. Add butter. When butter is melted toss in onion; cook about 5 minutes or until soft and beginning to color slightly. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are browned--about 5 minutes more. Stir in paprika and tomato paste. Cook for about 2 minutes to meld flavors and remove from heat. Set aside.
  2. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Add diced potatoes; cook for 10 minutes and then remove with skimmer and set aside. In same saucepan cook the noodles according to package directions. Remove with skimmer and set aside.
  3. Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid from the saucepan and set aside.
  4. Place the mushroom broth in the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the reserved potatoes, noodles, 2 cups reserved cooking liquid, and onion/mushroom mixture. Simmer until heated--about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. * I used creamy portabello, but you could use vegetable broth, or (if you aren't worried about creating a vegetarian meal) chicken or beef broth.

Why this Recipe Works

Typically when we think of stew we imagine an assortment of vegetables and chunks of protein cloaked in a thickened meaty gravy. What can we do in the kitchen to create the sensory taste of meat and still create a vegetarian meal? The key to the puzzle is understanding the science of taste.

There are five distinct tastes that the human tongue recognizes--sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami.

The first four you are probably familiar with:

  • sweet is a pleasurable sensation produced by sugars.
  • Sourness is the detection of acidity--the most common foods that contain the sour taste are citrus fruits, some melons, and some unripened fruits.
  • Saltiness is mostly from the presence of sodium.
  • A bitter taste is usually deemed unpleasant or disagreeable. Black coffee and unsweetened chocolate fall into this category.

And then there is umami. Umami is a Japanese word for "pleasant savory taste"--a MEATY taste. There are several natural, non-meat foods that have a umami flavor--tomatoes, mushrooms, soy, potatoes, carrots, and Parmesan cheese.

So, if you create this stew for your family, you will be giving them an uber-umami taste without meat.

© 2011 Linda Lum

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    • Carb Diva profile image
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      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Kristen Howe - Thank you for taking the time to comment on my Hub. I hope you find the time to try this recipe. Let me know if you like it. Blessings on your day!

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hello justthemessenger - Please write back after you've tried this recipe. I would love your feedback. Thanks for stopping by.

    • justthemessenger profile image

      James C Moore 2 years ago from The Great Midwest

      Mushroom stew sounds good. And, I actually have or can get the ingredients at my local Kroger brand grocery store. I'll try and fix this. Good hub, short and sweet.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great recipe, Carb Diva. I do love mushrooms. I'm going to give it a try sometime soon.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Patsybell. We have it often, especially on these cold winter days. I hope you enjoyed it too.

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      I came back to get this recipe. To me it is not vegetarian, it is just good mushroom soup and very creative. I love that you just seized an opportunity and made a great meal.

      Thank you.^+

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Joyfulcrown I hope that you enjoy this. I made it again last week, and in place of noodles I used the broken pieces of lasagna that always seem to be at the bottom of the package. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Joyfulcrown profile image

      Joyfulcrown 2 years ago

      I can't wait to try this. I love mushrooms. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Thelma Alberts - Happy New Year to you as well. So glad to know that you enjoyed this.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Yummy! This is a delicious soup. I love mushrooms. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Happy New Year!

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hello vocalcoach. I love stews and soups, especially when the weather is cold, as it is now. I am glad you found me and hope you enjoy this recipe. After you're tried it would love to hear back from you.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 2 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Mushrooms are both nutritious and tasty so I will be trying your recipe for stew very soon. Thanks for sharing.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      BWD316 I hope that you enjoy this. Thank you for stopping by.

    • BWD316 profile image

      Brian Dooling 2 years ago from Connecticut

      I have a new love for mushrooms lately and this looks like a perfect soup recipe to try! Love that it's vegetarian too!

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      peachpurple I love the simplicity of soups--everything simmering in one pot. And I love the way it makes the whole house smell warm and loving. Please let me know if you try this recipe. I'd love to get your feedback.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      I love warm soups that perks me up at night

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hello AudreyHowitt. I am so glad that you visited my hub. This is comfort food for a cold winter day. I hope you take the time to try my recipe and, if so, please write again.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      This sounds wonderful and right up my alley!

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Susan Recipes. I hope you enjoy it.

    • Susan Recipes profile image

      Susan 2 years ago from India

      Wow.. This stew looks so delicious. I am going to try this soon. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Thank you Patsybell. Your opinion means a lot to me.

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      My family will love this, if I don't say the word vegetarian. For us, it will be just mushroom soup or stew. Voted up, pinned.

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi YogaKat - Smoked paprika can be found in the spice section of your grocery store. It has a smoky aroma and flavor. I hope you enjoy this dish. After you cook it, please write back.

    • YogaKat profile image

      YogaKat 2 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

      I am a mushroom lover. Potatoes and noodles will make this soup hearty. I'm looking forward to cooking this up, though I must say I have never heard of smoked paprika before. I assume it is the spice section of the grocery store . . . I'm sure it adds color . . . but does it taste like regular paprika?

    • Carb Diva profile image
      Author

      Linda Lum 2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      vespawoolf thank you for your kind words. I'm glad you liked it.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, what a delicious recipe! How nice you were able to get the cremini mushrooms at half price. We would have to use another variety here in Peru, but I definitely want to try this. Mushrooms definitely have umami flavor...thank you for sharing!

    • Patsybell profile image

      Patsy Bell Hobson 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      Voted up and useful. Sounds so inviting on this wintery day.

      I can't wait to try this recipe. I like your style. Probably wouldn't have given the original recipe a look. But I'll be looking for mushrooms and will make Your recipe.

    • lady rain profile image

      lady rain 5 years ago from Australia

      I love any dish that has mushrooms in it. They are awesome. Gotta try this recipe.

    • danielleantosz profile image

      danielleantosz 5 years ago from Florida

      This sounds delicious!

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