Thursday, November 17, 2005

my favorite mushrooms

The weather is marginally cooler here, and since I'm flying solo now (the in-laws left last weekend), I'm back to cooking again. I made this awesome soup tonight, but last night I made roast pork with my favorite mushrooms. These mushrooms are so simple and delicious I was inspired to write about them.

Ideally, these mushrooms begin with a roasting pan, in which a hunk of pork or beef has been roasted on a bed of vegetables. Last night, it was pork loin on a bed of baby carrots. Please, don't roast (non-poultry) meats on a rack -- such a waste! Spray your roasting pan with no-stick spray first, then rough-chop carrots, celery, onions and toss them in the bottom of the roasting pan. Spray the veggies next (or, toss them in a light coating of olive oil before you put them in the pan), and then plop the meat on top. Season and roast as usual. You will be happy with the awesomeness of the pan drippings, and depending on the veggies you choose and the size of your roast, you might be able to use those veggies as a side dish. The baby carrots that support the little pork roasts I make are delightful.

Anyway, on to the mushrooms:

My Favorite Mushrooms

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
(use of these things if you have one, it really works! Also good for strawberries.)
2 T butter
1/2 tsp beef base/beef bouillion (mmmmmm)
2 cloves garlic, minced
(I use this, have for years, the thing is a tank -- yeah, I know, bruised garlic, blah blah blah. I don't care.)
1/2 C white wine, more or less
roasting pan, from which meat and vegetables have been removed, with drippings
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Set the roasting pan on your stove top over medium-low heat and toss in the butter to melt. If it's huge and covers 2 burners, that's OK, just turn both burners on. As the butter melts, use a silicone spatula to scrape up the cooked-on bits around the bottom of the pan. Stir in the beef base and the garlic. Cook over gentle heat, stirring to combine, for 3 minutes -- don't burn the garlic!

Now, if your roasting pan is large and you're using two burners, it's going to be easier to push all the scraped-up pan dripping and beef-butter stuff down to one end of the pan and work there. So turn off that other burner so that end of the pan doesn't burn. It'll be OK. Trust me. One burner gives plenty of heat to prepare this amount of mushrooms; if you try to stretch them out over the entire pan, they'll probably get too dry.

If you don't have a roasting pan to start out with, you can of course do this in a saute pan. Start out with about tablespoon of olive oil and proceed from there; if the 'shrooms seem too dry, add more butter.

Once the garlic has mellowed, dump in the mushrooms and stir them to coat. Increase the heat to medium and cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally so they don't stick, until they just start to soften, about 3-5 minutes, depending on how thick the slices are.

Now add the wine, and crank the heat up to medium-high. Stir briskly while the sauce reduces. Turn the heat off as soon as it has achieved a lovely, velvety texture -- not too thick, not too thin. If it's too thin or you have very dry mushrooms, you might add another tablespoon or so of butter. (Yes, I love butter. It's good for you. Alton Brown says so,too.)

Finish with fresh ground black pepper to your liking.

* * *

These are just delightful with the meat, of course, but are also excellent on mashed potatoes or pureed cauliflower. It's not exactly a side dish, and not exactly gravy, although I suppose you could call it that. I find them irresistable. I keep a bottle of cheap-but-drinkable white wine in my refrigerator at all times precisely so I can make these whenever the idea appeals.

1 comment:

Mamasita said...

Great minds think alike. I LIVE on garlic, onions and mushrooms. I think I make a dish like this nearly once a week. So easy. Just throw everything in the roasting pan and let it go.

You made me hungry.