A melange of wild mushrooms atop garlicky grits is delicious and comforting
In a week or two it will be time to hunt for wild mushrooms. In the meantime I need to use up the last of the frozen wild 'shrooms I gathered last spring and fall.
This dish is a tasty way to use up your frozen stock of wild mushrooms and make room in your freezer for those yet to be collected. No wild mushrooms? Use a mixture of store bought baby bellas, brown and white button mushrooms, shitaki, etc. Re-hydrated dried 'shrooms may be added, to the fresh mixture, too.
For this dish I used up the few remaining coral mushrooms gathered last spring and some maitaki, chantrelles, and beech mushrooms acquired last autumn. I still have a few fall mushrooms left in the freezer for other uses, but this dish used up about half my remaining stock.
Recipe: Wild Mushrooms Medley & Garlic-Pepper Grits (serves 4)
1 pound frozen, thawed mixed wild mushrooms, chopped, or 2 pounds fresh store bought mushrooms cleaned and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots or onion
1 TBS each olive oil, if using fresh mushrooms add a dollop of vegan or dairy butter, too
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup drained, diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1/4 cup dry white vermouth or chardonnay
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp tomato paste
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley, or pinch of dried parsley
1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 to 1 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, to taste
Heat oil (and vegan/dairy butter) in a skillet. Add the sliced shallot and saute about one minute. Add the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms give up most of their liquid.
Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, vermouth, sherry, tomato paste.
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until remaining liquid is gravy-like. While the mushrooms simmer you can work on the grits. When the grits are ready, taste the mushroom mixture and add salt and pepper, as desired, and the parsley and thyme.
Garlic-Pepper Grits (makes 3 cups)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 cups of water
1 to 2 minced garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse-ground pepper
1 to 2 tsp butter or vegan margarine
Heat water, garlic, and salt and pepper in a medium saucepan to boiling. Pour in the cornmeal - it will clump up - and whisk it until it's incorporated. Reduce heat to low and simmer for five to 10 minutes until it's thick and creamy. Stir in one or two teaspoons of butter and additional pepper, if desired.
Add a dollop or two of grits to a bowl. Spoon on the mushroom mixture. Eat with a spoon and enjoy.
The mushroom medley is good in omelets, and over pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes, too.
This is an easy dish for vegetarians and vegans with only a broth and butter swap out.
You need nearly double the amount of fresh mushrooms as frozen because frozen 'shrooms have already given up a lot of liquid by being cooked prior to freezing and/or losing moisture to frost.
Two "pucks" of cooked, frozen wild chantrelles, and some in a cupcake tin, cooked in butter and ready for freezing. Frozen pucks may be added to a warm pan with a skiff of butter and allowed to thaw, then, up the heat a bit to cook off any remaining moisture.