MMMmonday - Mushroom Stew

Even though it's still pretty darn warm here in Charleston, I've been craving comfort food and for me - that's stew, so I made up a big pot of this yummy vegetarian stew and pretended it was chilly outside...

Mushroom Stew

1/2 oz (14 g) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup (250 ml) hot water
4 Tbs (60 ml) butter or olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-3 lbs (900-1350 g) assorted fresh mushrooms such as crimini, portobello, oyster, shiitake, or white button, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh sage
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry sherry, Marsala, or Madeira (optional) and I usually omit
1 can (14 1/2 oz, 411 g) chopped tomatoes, drained
1 tsp (5 ml) balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water until tender, 20 to 30 minutes. 

Drain and strain the liquid through a paper towel or coffee filter and set aside. 
Chop the mushrooms and set aside. 
Heat the butter in a heavy pot over moderate heat and saute the onion and garlic until tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. 
Add the mushrooms and saute until most of the liquid they release has evaporated, about 10 minutes. 
Add the remaining ingredients and the reserved soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4 to 6.