Mushroom recipes are a staple in many kitchens. Eaten raw, mushrooms add punch to salads, sandwiches, and many other dishes. Cooked, they take on a more delicate flavor and character and are a welcome addition to just about any recipe. Their earthy flavors mingle well with other vegetables, eggs, meats, and just about anything else. There are almost 5,000 different varieties, and some are extremely poisonous, so stick with the selection you find on your grocer's shelves for your recipes.
There are many popular recipes that use mushrooms, such as stuffed mushrooms. They are also wonderful as add-ins to other foods, such as in omelets or casseroles. Try these delicious mushroom recipes to enhance your enjoyment of this wonderful food.
This orzo is made risotto style, so it's creamy and delicious.
- 1 package dried porcini mushrooms
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cube unsalted butter
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 cups dried orzo
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound seasonal mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup asiago cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Soak porcini in chicken broth for three hours.
- Heat broth and porcini, and maintain on simmer on the stovetop.
- In a large pot, melt butter.
- Add onion and sauté until soft, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add dried orzo and sauté, about 2-3 minutes, stirring to coat orzo with fat.
- Add white wine and thyme, scraping the bottom of the pan and stirring constantly.
- When white wine mostly evaporates, add 1 cup of hot broth and porcini, stirring the orzo constantly.
- Add mushrooms.
- Continuing to stir constantly, add broth and porcini about a cup at a time, adding the next cupful when the orzo has absorbed most of the water from the previous cupful.
- Continue adding broth until the orzo is al dente.
- Stir in parmesan and cream.
- Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Easy Sautéed Mushrooms
Mushrooms are great by themselves, as well. Use this simple recipe as an accompaniment for steak or to top a hamburger.
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 pound of seasonal mushrooms, quartered
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed through a garlic press or minced finely
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Melt butter in a 12" sauté pan over medium high heat until it is bubbly.
- Add mushrooms to pan and spread in an even layer over the bottom of the pan.
- Allow mushrooms to remain in contact with the pan until they release their juices, the juices evaporate, and the bottoms start to brown - about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Once the bottom of the mushrooms have browned, stir and continue to sauté until they are cooked through - about 3-4 minutes.
- Add garlic and sauté just until it releases its scent - about 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat and season to taste with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Common Mushroom Varieties
- Button (or white): Probably the most common mushroom in grocery stores, this small fungus is excellent for cooking and eating raw. The slightly meaty flavor enhances with cooking.
- Crimini: These are actually immature portobellos, harvested before they reach full size. They have a meatier, more intense flavor than the buttons.
- Morel: These distinctive mushrooms have domed, pointed caps that resemble a honeycomb. They are commonly used in sauces and soups which enhance their nutty flavor.
- Oyster: These are some of the most delicate in the family, and have a light, subtle flavor. They are best used cooked.
- Portobello: Extremely large caps mark portobellos, which is often used as a meat substitute in burgers. It grills and fries extremely well, too.
- Shiitake: These mushrooms with a soft, elastic cap and long stem have a lush, woodsy flavor that really comes out with cooking.
- Straw: These are the distinctive small domed variety you'll find in many Chinese dishes. They get the name from the straw they are cultivated on.
You can almost always find white (or button), crimini, shiitake, and portobello mushrooms at your local grocer. If you visit farmers' markets, you'll also discover wonderful seasonal mushrooms, such as chanterelles or enoki. Each mushroom has its own flavor profile. Experiment with seasonal mushrooms to discover which you like best.
Vegetable or Mineral?
Mushrooms aren't really plants at all, even though you'll find them with the other fruits and vegetables in your local market. Mushrooms are fungi, which means they actually take nourishment from other living things.
Some of the most popular varieties today include the white (or button), the shiitake, and the portobello. They all survive in decaying plant matter and cultivating them is quite easy. They grow in compost easily, which is what most growers use to cultivate these popular types. The elusive truffle, one of the most expensive ingredients in fine cuisine, is a relative of the lowly mushroom.
Mushrooms taste earthy and meaty, which is why many vegetarians use them as a meat substitute. This delicious fungus can also pick up other flavors in a dish and make them stronger. Think of a steak. Now think of it with a mushroom sauce. The steak flavor is intensified by the addition of the sauce. Dried mushrooms also have a more intense flavor than fresh, even when they are rehydrated for cooking.
The best time to use your mushrooms is right after purchase, but they will store for a few days in the refrigerator or at room temperature. In fact, they may continue to grow for a short time! After about four days, they begin to lose some of their fresh flavor and the metabolism that keeps them growing. If you store them in the refrigerator at about 40 to 45 degrees, their metabolism will slow even more and they will keep longer. They should be wrapped loosely in something adsorbent to pick up excess moisture. Removing them from any plastic packaging and wrapping them in paper towels or a soft cloth is a good idea.
Did you know mushrooms are 80 to 90 percent water? That's why they shrink so much when you cook them. It's a good idea not to wash them to clean them; they'll just absorb the water then release it into your recipe when you cook them. Instead, clean them with a soft brush and wipe them with a soft dry cloth before using them in your mushroom recipes.