Mike and I tried out a local tapas restaurant recently, and Mike had a wonderful mushroom ragout with balsamic drizzle and lots of other fancy words in between. Since it was quite delicious and we’re both mushroom nuts, he asked me to recreate it at home.
First, I looked into what exactly is a ragout? I really enjoyed this definition from Wikipedia:
The basic method of preparation involves slow cooking over a low heat. The potential ingredients are many; ragouts may be prepared with or without meat, a wide variety of vegetables may be incorporated, and they may be more or less heavily spiced and seasoned.
I’m sure there are some chefs out there who have an opinion about that.
Apparently I’ve been making ragouts forever; I just didn’t have the name for it. Armed with this information, I can now charge $8 for a plate of mushrooms. ;)
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) crimini/baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- big pinch of dried parsley
- big pinch of dried thyme
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- olive oil
- 1/2 pound (8 ounces) fresh spinach
- Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Film the pan with oil. Add the mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and a couple cranks of pepper. Stir well. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms have released all of their water and the water has cooked off, about 10 minutes.
- Push the mushrooms over to one side of the pan and add the garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, around half a minute, stir into the mushrooms.
- Add the parsley, thyme, vinegar and water. Allow the liquids to reduce until the pan is mostly dry. Remove from heat.
- When mushroom pan is almost finished, heat another medium to large-sized skillet over medium-high heat. Film the pan with oil. Add the spinach and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute until spinach has wilted, about one minute. Remove from heat.
- Divide the spinach between two small plates. Then top each with half of the mushrooms. Serve.
It actually works better to cook the mushrooms in a smaller skillet where they will be overcrowded. That way they all cook in their own juices, which ups the flavor.
If you want an extra rich dish, use butter in place of the olive oil. Or stir in a pat of butter right at the end. I wrote the recipe vegan, and I figured people can add dairy if they so choose.
The recipe works just as well if you throw the spinach in with the mushrooms once the mushrooms are almost finished. The presentation doesn’t look quite as nice. But, it means less pans to clean. Your decision.
While I really enjoyed just the mushrooms and spinach, if you wanted to stretch the dish, I think it would work nicely over pasta, or maybe a rice pilaf. Or maybe just wild rice if you wanted to be extra fancy.