Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Magic of Mushrooms

Because we are such a food-oriented family, we entertain a lot. I have always put a lot of effort into the food I cook and guarded my recipes. In the past people used to ask me to teach them how to make food the way I do and I would refuse – I don’t know why. As you can tell, this is no longer the case. I love to share what I know and I enjoy the feedback I get from people trying my recipes. It makes me happy when I get emails with all sorts of variations on the original; some I adopt and some I park. All of life should be a learning lesson!

Last week we had visitors for dinner and I made a mushroom sauce to compliment the meat. One of our visitors asked for the recipe, and it reminded me that I have promised the recipe lots of other times, too. So today I am going to share it. It is not overly complicated, but it is really good to eat and very versatile; you can have it over meat, vegetables, mixed through pasta, as a pizza base,  on toast with an egg, or have it like my big fella does, with a spoon straight out of the sauce jug.

Before we get into the recipe, I want to talk a bit about mushrooms. Here in Whakātane we are really limited in the kinds of mushrooms we can get from the store. We get button mushrooms and portobello or field mushrooms. There are lots of growing kits for oyster, shiitake, poplar and burgundy mushrooms, but I am yet to hear of anyone having great success and I am keen to hear from anyone who has. I would like to learn.

Mushrooms are packed with nutrition. They are low fat, low, cholesterol, low sugar, but high in vitamins and minerals.  A 100gm serving of Portobello mushrooms will give you more than 20-40% of the B vitamins you need for the day, 50% of vitamin D and 22% of the selenium you need. New Zealand soil is very low in selenium so we need to take it where we can get it. I can’t think of a more delicious way than mushrooms.

Kia makona
Mawera Karetai – The Wild Cook

Mushroom Sauce
400gms of mushrooms (diced or sliced)
4 spring onions, finely sliced
3 med/large cloves of garlic (pressed or grated)
250gms of sour cream and around ¼ c water
1 heaped tblspn wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tsp Italian herbs of your choice
Pepper and salt to taste
Butter and oil for frying
*Optional: finely sliced celery or capsicum

· Melt butter in a frying pan. Add mushrooms and cook on a medium to high heat until caramelised. Reduce heat.
· Add spring onions, garlic and optional celery and capsicum if you are using them. Cook until softened.
· Add mustard, sour cream, water and herbs. Cook on a low simmer until you are happy with the consistency.
· Taste and then add pepper and salt to season. Salt is something you should always add at the end of cooking. As the liquid evaporates, the salt concentration increases in your dish. You will not need much with this sauce.

· This recipe reheats well and tastes even better on the 2nd day if you can keep it that long.

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