Thursday, January 13, 2011

have you ever grown mushrooms? and a recipe for mushroom ragout

wow, i have to publicly thank my family and friends for the incredibly thoughtful gifts i received this year for christmas.  people went above and beyond selecting or making gifts that they knew i would love...everything from a massive ice chest on wheels from one sister, because she knows i love to entertain poolside all summer, to the 75th anniversary boxed set of nancy drew mysteries because my other sister remembers how much i loved them as a child.  cookies cutters, an antique candy dish, beautiful handmade ornaments, the coolest ever uggs boots, food, food, food and wine, wine, wine...i could go on and on.  i loved everything!

one of my favorites...and a perfect example of gifts given with a lot of thought about my interests, hobbies and life is the shiitake mushroom garden from my aunt karen and uncle don.  they know how much i love to cook using fresh local ingredients doesn't get any more local than growing it yourself!

so, this was one of the most unusual gifts ever.  when i opened the box, i pulled out what look like a log about a foot long.  the instructions include soaking the "log" in a big plastic bag for eight hours, draining, placing it on a raised platform, covering with a perforated bag (included) and leaving alone for two weeks. how hard could that be?  but i am a natural skeptic and must admit that i did not have high hopes this would actually work. wrong i was.  within a couple of days, baby mushrooms began appearing.  after two weeks, the log was covered with mushrooms.  i actually harvested more than a pound of shiitakes.  the instructions tell me there will be two additional harvests (woo hoo!) and then crumble and use in the garden as mulch.  love that...

so...a pound of mushrooms...what else but a delicious mushroom ragout? a ragout is a thick, slow cooked stew...usually meat based.  because this is a vegetarian dish using mushrooms, the cooking time is much shorter.  try the ragout over pasta, garlic rubbed bruschetta, polenta, rice, potatoes or as a sauce for chicken or steak.

thank you don and karen...i love this gift!

mushroom ragout
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (i used shiitake but use your favorite)
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot shredded using large holes of box grater
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
pinch aglio, olio, peperoncino (or red pepper flakes)
sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped/divided

in a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. add onion & carrot and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. add garlic and cook until garlic just not let brown...about 2 minutes. add mushrooms, a pinch of sea salt and a pinch of pepper. cover and cook until mushrooms release their liquid...about 10 minutes.

remove cover and increase heat to high. cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are caramelized . add stock, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, aglio (or red pepper flakes) and 1/4 cup parsley. stir and reduce heat to low. cook 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce has reduced by 1/2.  taste and adjust seasonings adding more salt, pepper and...if you want a bit more heat,...aglio, if necessary.  serve over rice, polenta, pasta, potatoes etc, sprinkling the remaining parsley over each dish.

what was you favorite gift this year given or received?

best and happy 2011,

diane padoven
"live a green life of style™ "

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kellypea said...

That is incredible -- who knew? I have to put growing mushrooms on my list now. I do have a few bags on my counter to make the very same thing for dinner tonight -- saw the recipe in F&W, but yours sounds great!

napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hi kelly,
these mushrooms things are really give it a try. which f&w recipe did you make?

Baker Man said...


napa farmhouse 1885 said...

hey baker man...they really are awesome! thanks....