Friday, March 22, 2013

Shroom city, welcome to it.

Guys. This is so good.

That's what I captioned this picture when I posted it on instagram the other day.
It wasn't quite accurate.  This is not so good... This is SO good!

It's mushroom ragout.  Sounds boring right?  Ok... maybe not boring.  Not interesting? whatever... you should make this.

I swung by whole foods on my way home from work after a long day knowing that I wanted to cook something that involved a little more care... a little bit of prep.  I think cooking is generally my go-to relaxation technique. A little wine, a little knife skills (prob best in reverse order), a little dump and stir and I feel so much better no matter what came before the wine, chopping and stirring.

Anyway, when I walked into whole foods, I saw this gorgeous mushroom display (sidenote:  how do the whole foods overlords know how to make the food look SO appealing?? Gets me every time.) They probably had 10 different types of mushrooms.  I picked up wood ears, chantarelles, cremini and hedge hogs along with a package of local white button mushrooms and headed home.  They also had oyster, enoki, porcini, portabellas and a couple of other varieties.  Mushrooms are cool because you can get really deep, caramelized, meaty flavor without too much cooking time, like after a long day at work.  Did I mention I had a long day at work?


Below is a rough estimate for a recipe.  I don't generally like to use recipes, I like to make things up.  The problem with this is when you want to share something that is So. Good.  Well - if it sucks when YOU try to make it, consider this fair warning..  (just kidding - this won't suck... you could just dump all these ingredients in a feedbag and give it a shake and it would still probably taste good)

I served this on the side of a Niman Ranch ham and a few roasted beets.

The beets made for a great balance of sweet and savory and complemented the earthiness of the mushrooms really well.  (All those words mean nothing except for mmmmm gooooooood.)  This would also make a great pasta sauce if you used a bit of pasta water to thin it out. Or over steaks!  The possibilities are endless.
Mushroom Ragout with Bacon

2lbs various mushrooms, sliced (I used white button, cremini, chantarelles, wood ears and hedge hogs)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 Strips thick cut bacon, diced ( I use niman ranch or truck patch farms bacon)
1 Sprig Thyme
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup stock (you could use any kind - I used homemade veal stock)
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp coconut milk (my husband is allergic to casein so I used this instead of regular cream.  You could also use a knob of cream cheese or a spoonful of creme fraiche)

Brown the bacon pieces in a heavy bottomed skillet.
Once browned, remove the bacon and set aside leaving the rendered fat in the pan.
Add the diced onions to the pan and slowly begin to caramelize on medium heat.
When the onions are just starting to caramelize, add the mushrooms, a few shakes of salt, and cook until they give off all their water and begin to caramelize.  (If you have some mushrooms that are more delicate like the wood ears, add the other mushrooms first, cook them off a bit and then add the more delicate ones)
At this point add the thyme sprig and the tomato paste and brown.
Add the wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping all the browned bits off the bottom.  Reduce the wine a bit and add the stock and bacon and stir.
Add the coconut milk.
Let simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat until liquid has reduced to a glaze and mushrooms are soft.
Serve with a drizzle of truffle oil over top (optional not optional)

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