It was a dark and stormy night, and I had too many mushrooms in my refrigerator. The clock was ticking, and the prospect of wasted food hung over my head like a pendulum in a pit. Well, I’ll spare you the suspense. This hearty mushroom stew saved the day — or rather, it saved the dark-and-stormy night.
Hearty and filling without being heavy, this dish is rich in fiber and potassium. That’s thanks to the mushrooms and kidney beans, a pairing that really ought to be more frequent.
And while it takes some time to simmer and allow the flavors to come together, you don’t need to spend a lot of hands-on time with this one. That makes it a great option for meal prep.
About Forager’s Mushroom Stew
When I started creating this recipe, bigos, or Polish hunter’s stew, was my main inspiration. And although the ingredients I had on hand took me in a different direction, I think the family connection to the classic savory stew is still apparent.
So, in honor of hunter’s stew, I’ve named this recipe “Forager’s” stew. As I was making it, the tradition of mushroom foraging was at the front of my mind.
But in another sense, this super-savory mushroom stew is an ideal base for using up odds and ends in the fridge. Even if you’re not hunting down your own mushrooms in the forest, you can do some refrigerator foraging to customize the stew and find a use for that one extra carrot in the bottom of your crisper drawer.
Can You Customize this Mushroom Stew?
Like most stews, this recipe offers a lot of flexibility. It’s easy to make it your own, whether by choice or necessity (as in the case of that aforementioned extra carrot).
I’ve successfully thrown in radishes and a handful of chopped carrot greens that were wilting in my crisper. You could even throw in a few handfuls of cooked grain and some chopped veggies to make this a one-pot meal. These are a few of the modifications I’m planning to try:
Vegetables that have a sweeter, milder flavor when cooked will work well in this dish. For example, potatoes, turnips, carrots, or squash are good candidates.
I will note that while adding one or two carrots or turnips will work well, adding a whole bunch may overwhelm the mushroomy character of the stew. And I probably wouldn’t use stronger flavors like broccoli. But in this as in all things, you do you.
Cabbage, kale, or other leafy greens would make a good addition.
Add sturdier greens when you add the broth so that they have time to soften. And if you’ve chosen something more delicate, like spinach, add it nearer to the end, so that it will just cook through without getting slimy.
Beans and grains
Beyond the vegetable options, I think barley or wild rice would be winners. These are also great accompaniments to serve on the side.
You could also swap out the kidney beans in favor of another variety. Cannellini or borlotti beans might be good choices, as would green or beluga lentils.
What you’ll need for this recipe
Like most stews, this recipe doesn’t require any specialized equipment. There are just a few items to round up before you get started:
- A small heat-safe bowl or large mug
- A fine mesh strainer or sieve
- A knife
- A cutting board
- A dutch oven or other large pot
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