Criminis and shiitakes. Whatever tickles your pickle
by Baby Huey

One of the best parts of cooking is that so many recipes are excellent chameleons. Learn a few simple recipes, and you will impress the shit out of friends and family.

Ok, enough chit-chat. I'm tired and running late getting this in. Less talk, MORE ROCK.

Mushroom-Cream Ragout
12 oz sliced mushrooms (I prefer a 50-50 combination of criminis and
shiitakes, but whatever tickles your pickle)
1 large onion, sliced into very thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic
4 Tbsp UNSALTED butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper.
1/2 cup alcohol (I used sherry, but it would be equally awesome with cognac,
brandy, or bourbon).
1/2 cup beef stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Any combination of fresh parsley, tarragon, thyme, and chives. Seriously,
your call.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. After the water in the butter has evaporated, add the onions and garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. Sweat them over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and olive oil and crank up the heat a notch or two. DO NOT ADD SALT.salt.jpg I swear to god if you add salt right now, I will find out where you live and cut your face. Salt pulls the liquid out of the mushrooms. It will make them tough and the sauce will be too soupy. Cook till the mushrooms are nice and brown.

Once the mushrooms are brown, NOW you may add salt and pepper, and you should do so liberally. Play it safe, tiger, and pull the pan off the heat. Add the booze and put it back over high heat. When the booze is boiling good and hard, add the stock. When this has reduced to about 1/2 cup of total liquid in the pan, add the cream and stir to combine. Reseason with salt and pepper. Once you get the sauce to the consistency you want, add the butter and the herbs.

This sauce is unbelievably versatile. Here are some service suggestions:

- toss with pasta

- serve over steak or pork chops

- add 1/2 c grated parmesean cheese. Spoon into cleaned portobello mushroom caps. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and put in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

- double the alcohol, change the cream to 1 cup, and up the stock to 3 cups. Simmer for 20 minutes. Toss in the blender if you want. Boom. Kickass mushroom soup.

As always, nothing washes dinner better than a healthy dose of metal. So tune in to "Dead of the Night" at 10pm Eastern, every Tuesday night on WXDU.


This sounds great except that I hate mushrooms. My loss. Mushrooms, mayo and seafood are all sworn enemies.

I've got everything ready to go for last week's polenta except for the frozen spinach. At this rate I'll have it ready for Thanksgiving.


This sounds yummy. I'd love to try these recipes but my kids are notoriously pick eaters. When Turtle gets here, I'll start trying these out.

Dan, I ate frozen spinach two days ago and so far, I'm still alive and kicking.


i'm going to assume you meant that salt pulls the liquid outta the mushrooms...

so am i to use unsalted butter?


Bwa ha ha, I just forgot to put it on the list, Michele. I ain't afraid of no spinach.


Sounds good. Another one to try.


mushrooms rock. i cook wit wild ones a lot. THIS i could do. :)


"i'm going to assume you meant that salt pulls the liquid outta the mushrooms...

so am i to use unsalted butter?"

Two excellent questions.

1) Yes, yes, yes, you pedant ;) Although technically, water would also draw liquid out. It's interesting how the dynamics of it work.

2) A very good question -- you should ALWAYS assume I mean unsalted butter, but I'll try to remember it. Salted butter is more shelf-stable than unsalted, but that's taking one element of control out of your hands -- how much salt is in the dish.


Oh hey wait. I made the word unsalted all big and stuff. Nyah.


oh yeah, you sure did.

heh. but then you said it was a very good question. so they sorta cancel each other out, right?

you love me...


Dammit! Dammit!

Now I'm hungry. I come here for some good reading and I get this. HUNGER. Damn.

Not sure how I read that salt pulls the moisture out (?) didn't it say that?? Now I gotta go read it again. And get hungry all over again. You're evil. You did that on purpose.


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