The rich meaty flavour of mushrooms make them one of the most popular side dishes in any steakhouse. This richly flavoured side dish is also perfect with a simple green salad or a freshly baked potato, or tossed with pasta.
Yield: Serves 4
1 pound or so mixed mushrooms
1/2 stick Butter
2 onions, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped, or 1 Tablespoon of dried
a sprinkle or two sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a splash or two any red wine
1/2 cup heavy cream (35%)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Trim the mushrooms as needed, removing any tough stems. Cut the larger mushrooms into smaller pieces. Smaller mushrooms may be left whole or simply halved to show off their form. Rinse all the mushrooms well and roll them in a tea towel to dry them off.
Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter, onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions just begin to turn golden brown. Add the mushrooms and continue. In a few minutes the mushrooms will release quite a bit of moisture and become a bit soupy.
Add the thyme and salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender and most of the moisture has evaporated, concentrating the flavour. Add your choice of wine or spirit and the cream. Continue simmering until the sauce has thickened once again. Stir in the green onions.
You may use any combination of mushroomsshiitake, oyster, portabella, button or creminior just a single variety to make this dish. For the liquor, you may use sherry, port, brandy, Madeira or Marsala. For the herbs, try using rosemary or tarragon instead of thyme, and dried herbs are fine if you don’t have fresh.
Braising is my favourite cooking method. I just love the way it can transform an inexpensive, tough cut of beef into a tasty tender stew. Toss in the earthy flavours of root vegetables and aromatic red wine, and you are well on your way to a rich flavour base. But the real secret to a truly memorable beef stew is patiently browning the meat.
The humble hamburger can easily be elevated to the heights of cuisine classics with the same attention to detail that any dish deserves. It can also be infinitely varied with lots of your personalized flavours. Ground chuck is your best choice because it has a higher fat content than ground round or ground sirloin.