Last night I really wanted to have a date night at home. I love getting dressed up and going out to eat, but sometimes it’s nice to put the extra money into a nice home cooked meal, turn on some music, and relax instead. Needless to say, I wanted to make something a little more special than the average weeknight.
I immediately thought about our first trip together to New Orleans and recalled this amazing French bistro we tried on our first night in the vibrant city. I ordered coq au vin (obviously pre-vegetarian days), which I had never had before, and I simply cannot remember what Dustin ordered…probably because I was too busy focusing on my yummy meal! I wanted to make something reminiscent of that dish, only without the meat. It seemed a difficult challenge!
In the end I decided to brown some potatoes in a little oil and butter (you can’t have a French dish without butter!) and then threw them into a pot with loads of mushrooms, a couple of carrots, pearl onions, garlic, lots of herbs, and a beautiful wine sauce. I served it over toasted sourdough French bread, and it turned out perfect! I think I will definitely make this again, only next time I will use a full cup of wine, and will remember to put candles on the table – ooh la la! (Cheesy, I know!)
Start by cutting, chopping, slicing, peeling, and measuring everything you need; it makes everything go a lot more smoothly, trust me. If you are making this for a date night, the last thing you want is to be stressed because your potatoes are burning and you don’t have the wine open yet (not that this happened to me, mind you!).
Now that you have everything ready, start browning your potatoes in a little olive oil (about 2 tsp) and 1 Tbs butter over medium-high heat. Two things about this: 1) you aren’t cooking the potatoes, really, just browning them, so it’s okay to use a higher heat setting, and 2) since you are cooking on a higher heat setting, it’s important to add the oil with the butter; if you don’t, the butter will burn, and you don’t want that!
Add in your salt and pepper (I used about 2 good pinches of salt and 1 pinch of pepper), and continue turning until both sides of the potatoes are golden. When you reach this point, transfer the potatoes to a baking dish that has a lid, turn the heat down on the stove to about medium, and put the pan back on the burner.
Add the wine and half the veggie broth to the heated pan and start scraping up all the brown bits left by the potatoes. Mix the flour with the remaining veggie broth by adding the broth to the flour a little at a time until well blended, then pour this in with the rest of the wine and vegetable mixture. It should be a beautiful purple color by this time, and I hope you will forgive me for forgetting to take pictures of this part! Let reduce and thicken.
While waiting for the wine sauce to thicken, add the carrots, pearl onions, garlic cloves, mushrooms, chopped herbs, and another tablespoon of butter (chopped into smaller pieces) to the baking dish. Add another pinch of salt and pepper, and toss well.
When your sauce has thickened, pour over the top of the veggies, along with another drizzling of olive oil. Add in the rosemary sprigs and bay leaf, and bake in the oven, lid on, for about 35-45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until all the veggies are tender.
While the veggies are mingling in the oven, cut a few thick slices from a fresh loaf of sourdough French bread. Coat both sides with butter and a sprinkle of garlic powder, and set aside. When you have about 10 minutes left before the veggies are done, place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven. Turn occasionally until lightly brown on both sides.
Wrapping it up
When the veggies are done, remove the bay leaf and the sprigs of rosemary; then place a piece of the chunky garlic bread on each plate and top with the roasted veggies and lots of sauce for the bread to soak up. You can add a simple salad for starters if you like, light some candles, and enjoy your date night ;)
Ingredients for Veggie Pot
3 russet potatoes cut into chunky rounds, skins on
2 carrots cut into chunky rounds, skins on
8oz white mushrooms, cut into halves and quarters
2.5oz sliced shitake mushrooms
6oz package pearl onions, peeled (cut the root end off, make a slit in the skin, and peel)
8-10 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
2 tsp fresh, finely chopped sage
1 1/2 tsp fresh, finely chopped thyme
1 bay leaf
3 rosemary sprigs, left whole
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for sautéing and drizzling
2 Tbs butter, divided
1/2 cup red wine (I used a Pinot that I like, and next time I will use a full cup)
1 cup veggie broth
2 Tbs flour
Ingredients for Toasted Bread
4 or 5 chunky slices of fresh sourdough French bread
2 Tbs melted butter
Garlic powder to taste
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