Among other minor blips this week, there was a bigger crisis: our rescue cat Domino, beloved member of our French family and cat-mayor of our village, passed away. You may have met Domino on this blog, as he has made several guest appearances in the eight happy years he has been our cat.
So in my weepy state, I took solace in the kitchen. Time to make a ragoût. Ragoût of course being the French word for stew.
I came across Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe this week for Mushroom Ragoût. Now we’ve cooked a mushroom mélange before on this blog, and it’s a meaty, go-to vegetarian dish for me. Her recipe is somewhat different, more of a stew or a gravy. What I really liked was this idea she offered: make a big batch of it on a week-end, and use it in recipes all week long.
Here’s what you can do with this versatile ragoût: serve it over grits or rice or pasta, as a sauce. Use it as a gravy for meats. Put it on toast and top it with a fried egg. You could make a mushroom tart. Or do what I did: make quesadillas.
And since we’re in French mode, why not French quesadillas? I stuffed them with the ragoût and some gruyère, then a simple topping of creme fraîche and chives. Excellent comfort food, in difficult times or any time.
RECIPE: French Quesadillas, with Mushroom Ragoût
I have tweaked her recipe a bit; I find a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a generous splash of soy sauce really brighten up a mess of mushrooms. Also she uses both fresh and dried mushrooms, but I’ve simplified mine with just fresh (if you want to use dried, follow her instructions, here.) I used a mixture of varieties, but use all creminis if you like. If you’re using this as a sauce for beef, try adding red wine instead of the white.
For the Ragoût:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 pound wild mushrooms, sliced
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup or more of dry white wine
1 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper
a handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
In a large skillet, cook the shallots in hot oil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up a bit and add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme and rosemary and a good pinch of sea salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushrooms will release their liquid. Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, then add half the wine. Turn the heat up and cook and stir for 5 minutes until the wine reduces and glazes the mushrooms. Add the rest of the wine and turn down to a simmer. Cook about 10 more minutes, stirring often(you may have to add more wine). At the end you should have a thick broth. Stir in the lemon juice, soy sauce and parsley.
For the Quesadillas:
Heat a bit of oil in a black skillet. Spread 2 corn tortillas with mushroom ragoût and place in skillet. Top with grated gruyère, then another tortilla. When brown (just a couple of minutes), flip them over carefully and cook until browned. Remove to a warm plate and top with creme fraiche or sour cream, and chopped chives or scallions.
In the COMMENTS: Beth, glad the steaks turned out well! Chris, love the Romantic Tuscan cooking class; you and Bonnie share my thougts about beef, and I have to be a bit flexible, living as I do in a country where being a vegetarian is a bit strange. Varya, thanks for the ideas for other French sites and learning sites, and I think French Word a Day is everyone's favorite. And by the way, I don't use the P-word lightly (and never, before Trump), but, as in the women's march, to remind the world what a crude and crass president we have, and to disapprove of his language when he's talking about women. I'm not usually political, but I can't remain silent about this. To "Moi", I believe respect is earned, not automatic just because of a title. Thanks to all, for sharing your thoughts.
Resistance Notes, for those who are interested (and if you're not interested in politics, stop reading here!): I've been waiting for a resistance organization to emerge as a leader. I'm thinking Indivisable is in the lead, any other thoughts? It's a group of former congressional staffers, and they are modeling their approach on the Tea Party methods (except with progressive principles), who were effective in their efforts at organizing a resistance. They have an excellent website. There is also a good calendar of town hall meetings at the Town Hall Project.