Mushrooms are like me; they love butter. These meaty fungi also love to soak up flavour like sponges, add heaps of texture to veggie meals and lend oodles of umami body to broths, stews, and risottos.
Versatile supermarket faves, like button, closed cup and chestnut mushrooms, are popular because they’re perfect for tossing into stir fries and pastas, baking in omelettes and frittatas and braising whole in stroganoffs and stews. Bigger varieties (Portobello and field mushrooms) are brilliant for turning into burgers because they can be baked or grilled whole. Fancier, delicate mushrooms, like chanterelle, add a subtle nuttiness to risottos and are delicious sauteed in butter and served on crunchy toast.
How to fry mushrooms:
Add a generous knob of butter and a drizzle of oil to a pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add your sliced mushrooms in a single layer (if using oyster, chanterelle, or morel mushrooms, tear them or keep them whole). Leave them to fry for a couple of minutes without stirring to develop a rich flavour and colour on the surface. Add salt and an aromatic, like finely chopped garlic, rosemary, or thyme. Finish with fresh green herbs or deglaze the pan with cream or stock to create a rich sauce to serve with baked chicken, lamb chops or pasta.
How to cook mushrooms in the oven:
Baking mushrooms lends itself well to stuff mushrooms. Cut the stems off the mushrooms caps, chop and fry with garlic and breadcrumbs before stuffing back into the caps, topping with cheese and baking for 20 mins (here’s a stuffed mushroom recipe with the specifics). The cream cheese, spinach and bacon in this Portobello stuffed mushroom recipe makes for a delicious variation too but anything goes, from spicy chicken and ground beef to marinara and mozzarella. Brushing larger mushrooms with oil and par-baking them prior to stuffing, guarantees every element of the dish is cooked through at the same time.
How to make mushroom burgers:
Make a quick marinade with your favourite seasonings and a glug of olive oil before dunking in some large Portobello mushrooms and popping under a medium grill. Flip over, baste with the marinade again and finish baking. Then place in a burger bun with all your favourite fixings and condiments (don’t forget a slice of processed cheese!).
Can I use mushrooms to make veggie gravy?
Yes! Fry gently with lots of onions, add flour to make a roux and slowly pour in vegetable stock until you achieve the desired consistency. Adjust the seasonings and you’re ready to pour your mushroom gravy over vegan sausages, slices of nut roast or a hot plate of chips.
Which mushrooms are best in stir fries?
Mushrooms are naturally suited to stir fries because they cook quickly. Use any type you like but slice bigger, meatier varieties into smaller pieces to ensure a quick toss in the wok cooks them through.
Can I braise mushrooms?
Button mushrooms are superb for braising whole in stroganoff, hearty beef stews and casseroles. If you’ve got bigger mushrooms, simply slice them up and toss into the pot towards the end of the cooking time. Fine enoki mushrooms and oyster mushrooms are delish in soupy, brothy dishes like Tom yum, ramen and miso soup.
How to use dried mushrooms
Dried mushrooms, such as shiitake and porcini, need to be rehydrated in water to soften them. Steeping them in hot water for about 20 minutes will do the trick – they’ll swell up and turn the water into a savoury solution. Strain it first to remove any grit and use it in your recipe.
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