Measure for Measure

Sunday, April 24, 2016

At the Globe Theatre in London, summer 2004
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee."

- "Sonnet 18," William Shakespeare

The Globe Theatre
"And, most dear actors, eat no onions or garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath."
- A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare

I wanted to post one of Shakespeare's lovely sonnets in honour of the 400th anniversary of his death. But the quote from A Midsummer Night's Dream is more apt, given that it mentions two of my favourite and most versatile ingredients.

Perhaps then, this recipe, which contains both onions and garlic, should be off limits to actors - but I hope the rest of you aren't scared off. The ragout is so good, I loved it the first time I tried it even though I forgot to add the cheese. The next day I sprinkled my leftovers with Parmigiana-Reggiano before heating and it was even better. In short, all's well that ends well.

Mushroom and White Bean Ragout
Note: you can easily cut the recipe in half if you're cooking for two

1 ounce dried mushrooms (preferably porcini)
2 cups boiling (or very hot) water
2 pounds Portobello mushrooms
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
4 garlic cloves, divided
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup red wine (white wine is also good)
15-ounce can white beans
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
additional salt to taste
additional fresh rosemary for garnish (optional)
sprinkling of grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese for garnish (optional)

Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Add hot water and let the mushrooms soak for 30 minutes. Place a strainer over a bowl and pour mushrooms into the strainer. Squeeze the mushrooms over the strainer until you've squeezed out all the juices. Quickly rinse mushrooms to remove any residual sand. Chop coarsely and set aside. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and set aside.

Wipe the Portobello mushrooms with a damp paper towel and cut into slices of 1/2 inch or so. Set aside.

Peel onions, and cut into dice of 1/2 inch or so. Place a large frying pan or dutch oven over medium stovetop heat. When it's hot, add olive oil, then add diced onions. Season with salt, lower the heat and sauté until translucent, 5 to 8 minutes.

Peel the garlic and slice thinly or mince finely. Divide into two roughly equal piles and set aside.

Once the onions are ready, add half the garlic. Add thyme and rosemary, and sauté for 1 minute.

Add the Portobello mushrooms. Add additional salt to taste, plus the butter. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the reconstituted mushrooms, along with the wine. Cook until the liquid evaporates and a glaze forms on the mushrooms. Stir occasionally so the mushrooms don't stick and burn.

Open the beans, rinse through a colander, and let drain.

Add the reserved soaking liquid, the beans, tomatoes and the rest of the garlic to the mixture. Bring to a bare simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve over cooked barley, polenta or rice. Garnish with rosemary and/or Parmigiana-Reggiano, if desired.

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember."
- Hamlet, William Shakespeare


That Girl said...

This looks divine! I love the meaty mushrooms with the meaty beans.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

As a mushroom fan, I know I'd go nuts for this terrific dish! And what a darling photo of your girls!! Have a wonderful week, Beth.

Natalie Aguirre said...

This sounds like a real winner. I was just telling someone yesterday I need to eat different kinds of beans, and this is one type of bean I don't eat yet. Thanks.

Angie's Recipes said...

I had a mushroom ragout before, but not with beans. Love the combo, Beth.

Gloria Baker said...

I love mushrooms Beth, look so delicious !!

Monica said...

For some reason, I love the word ragout...I imagine deliciousness right away. The ingredients sound wonderful here!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Hi Beth, oh this dish is right up my alley, love everything about it. Looks delicious!

Velva said...

As always, it looks fabulous! Very nice Beth.


Marcelle said...

I bet this has so much flavor, Beth! I'm always up a satisfying meatless meal and I can't wait to try it :)

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, What a delicious meatless meal. It would be perfect with a side salad. xo Catherine

Kitchen Riffs said...

Great photo of your girls. And thanks so much for making my mushroom and bean ragout! It's a goodie, isn't it? :-)

handmade by amalia said...

I love this post. It has everything.

Patty Price said...

Your girls always look adorable in the photos from your many travels. Have you been to the Oregon Shakespeare festival in Ashland? We love going in the Summer, that's the closest I've been to the Globe Theatre ;-) Your recipe is my kind of comfort food, looks delicious!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

What an appropriate post for the anniversary…love the photos. I've made a lot of bean dishes but not one with mushrooms. Thanks to you and John, I now have a new recipe to try.

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

Great recipe from one of my favorites! And so is that sonnet. Beautiful! And I love onion and garlic so and actor I shall not be!

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

Great recipe from one of my favorites! And so is that sonnet. Beautiful! And I love onion and garlic so and actor I shall not be!

Unknown said...

What a lovely recipe, a celebration of onion and garlic!

Unknown said...

Your kids are adorable. This is such beautiful looking comfort food.


Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, there are a lot of "food quotes" to be found in Shakespeare´s work and I had fun with that too on the 400th anniversary of his death - what a great way to celebrate his life and his writings!

DMS said...

Beautiful tribute to Shakespeare! I love the sound of this dish. I agree that it should be off limits to actors getting ready to perform- but it sounds scrumptious to me. :)

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

How sweet to see the childhood picture of your girls. I wouldn't be scared off by the onions and garlic in this dish!

Katerina said...

It is Shakespeare's year right? I love the tribute and your dish is so up my alley!

Tricia Buice said...

I love John's recipes and a mushroom and bean Ragout sounds wonderful! Have a happy Mother's Day!

Unknown said...

lovely tribute to shakespeare! also, Your kids are so adorable!

lisa is cooking said...

I'm so glad I'm not an actor! I love the flavor of garlic and onions. This dish sounds like a delicious use of them.

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