This saucy stew makes a wonderful centerpiece as a main course, accompanied by rice or polenta.
Wine recommendations: The ragout's bacon and dried herb components call for a smoky, earthy Syrah or Grenache from France's Rhône Valley. Côtes-du-Rhône, Vayqueras, Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape have the weight and spiciness to stand up to this hearty stew.ling wine, a dry rosé, or a rich, barrel-fermented Chardonnay.
* 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
* 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1 1/4 pounds wild mushrooms, cut into thick slices or bite-sized piecesv
* 1 stalk celery, chopped
* 2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
* 2 cups dry red or white wine
* 1 cup chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, plus pepper to taste
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 tablespoons flour
Any number of different kinds of mushrooms—wild or not—can be cooked together in this fragrant ragout, or mushroom stew. Try to use at least two or three different types, however. The blend serves up a heady range of flavors and textures. You may slice the mushrooms however you wish. Try to keep them relatively thick, though, as they will shrink significantly in size as they cook.
In a large flameproof casserole, Dutch oven or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown. Add the onion and stir until it is translucent. Add the garlic and thyme. Sauté for another minute or two. Add the mushrooms and toss gently. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up their liquid and reduce in size. Stir in the celery and carrots.
Add the wine, stock or broth, bay leaf, the 1/2 teaspoon salt and the 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir this mixture into the ragout and cook until slightly thickened. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for at least 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.