Wild Mushroom Stroganoff

Wild mushrooms are a delicious vegetarian substitution for the typical beef stroganoff. This recipe is based on the Brazilian version of stroganoff with the addition of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. There is vegan Worcestershire sauce if you want to avoid the anchovies. This can be made with dried noodles too; just parboil the noodles until they are a couple of minutes from being done before adding them to finish in the sauce. If you want to serve this with rice instead, boil down the sauce a few minutes to thicken it. I used white wine because it was handy, but if you prefer you can use the more traditional brandy. Making a slurry with the stock and flour keeps it from lumping.

4 Tbsp butter
½ onion, chopped
454 g/ 1 lb assorted mushrooms
5 Tbsp white wine
1 cup beef stock or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp flour
½ cup crushed tomatoes
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp paprika
½ Tbsp dijon mustard
½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
sprinkle of cayenne (optional)
½ cup creme fraiche
250 g/ 8 oz fresh egg noodles
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper

Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat. Add onions. Cook until softened. Add mushrooms. Cook until just softened. Push mushrooms to side and add white wine. Boil until syrupy. Mix stock and flour and add slurry to pan. Add crushed tomatoes, ketchup, paprika, mustard, Worcestershire,and cayenne. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until thickened. Add creme fraiche and stir. Add noodles and stir. Add more liquid if necessary. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 3 minutes. Serve with fresh parsley sprinkled on top.

There’s also a video of this recipe.

Mushroom, Greens, and Chickpea Soup

The professional kitchen I worked in was awesome. Lots of room and if you were there at the right time not too crowded. My American kitchen at home was small by newer standards; people would comment about how I was able to do so much stuff in it, but I had a great stovetop, quality pots and pans I amassed over twenty years, and lots of kitchen tools. Now there is a small electric stovetop which does not respond to my wants no matter how much I dial the numbers up or down.

Our flat in Porto is lovely. There’s lots of light, hardwood floors, and plenty of space, but our kitchen is tiny. There is barely room for a cutting board at the side of the stove. While our stuff is being shipped over and is still someplace in the middle of the Atlantic, I have: a small frying pan, a small sauce pan, a big soup pot, a paring knife, a serrated knife, a vegetable peeler, and one small cutting board. I don’t even have a cheese grater. I bought some pre-grated Parmesan the other day and it was horrible.

We bought the cheapest pans we could find at the closest department store. They are awful.  They bulge up in the middle so that no matter how much oil you put in there’s a gap in the center it can never cover. After this I firmly recommend going out of your way to hit up Ikea. At least their pans have flat bottom and are good quality for the price.

But cooking must go on. For a couple of weeks while we dealt with bureaucracy, I got by with roasting things and frying some steaks. Now I am focusing on the kitchen again. While I adjust, I’m cooking food that doesn’t require too many tools or too much space.

This recipe of Mushroom, Greens, and Chickpea Soup is light, healthy vegetarian fare that only requires one large pot, a cutting board, a vegetable peeler, and whatever knife you have.

You can use whatever greens are handy. For my version I used turnip tops (called nabiça in Portuguese). Some greens will require less time, some more time depending on what you have. Spinach will take very little time and you’ll want to give the rest of the ingredients time to meld before putting it in; collard greens will need longer. If you are not sure, the best thing to do is taste them to see if they have softened to you liking.

Of course you can use homemade cooked chickpeas instead of a can, but don’t feel any shame if you too busy/ have not planned ahead and need use canned chickpeas. If you are inclined, you can hold onto the water. It is called aquafaba and can be used as an egg substitute in vegan baking.

Mushroom, Greens, and Chickpea Soup


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Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche

I always go to Julia Child for my pastry because not only is she always right, but if you screw up she gives you helpful instructions on how to fix it. Pie pastry is especially handy to make a main dish for a vegetarian meal. It is easily made in the food processor, but as with many doughs made in the food processor it still requires a final human touch. The final blending is called fraisage and achieves an even blending of fat and flour. The trick is to work quickly and keep the dough as cool as possible.

Pie Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 oz chilled butter cut into 1/2 inch bits
4 Tb chilled shortening
1/2 cup iced water
Measure all dry ingredients into food processor. Pulse 4 times. Add water all at ounce. Pulse until dough begins to form a ball on the blade. Do not overmix.
Scrape onto lightly floured pastry board for the fraisage. With the heel of one hand rapidly press the pastry down the board away from you in small bits. Then gather the dough again with a scraper for a brief knead. Sprinkle with flour, wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Butter inside of quiche pan.
Roll out dough as quickly as possible into a circle about 1/8 inch thick so that it is 2 inches larger than your quiche pan. Place pastry in pan gently working inside edges of mold. Trim excess. Prick bottom with fork at 1/2 inch intervals. Place buttered parchment paper inside the pastry and weigh it down with dry beans.
For a partially cooked shell bake at middle level of 400F preheated oven for 8-9 minutes. Remove beans and parchment and prick bottom again with fork. Bake another 2-3 minutes, until shell is starting to cover and shrink from sides.
Depending on the firmness of the shell or your confidence you can either unmold it, allow it to cool, and then fill and bake it, or you can keep it in the pan for the final filling and baking.

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Quiche

1 partially cooked pie crust
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
1 1/2 Tb flour
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh chopped marjoram
2 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven 375F.
Cook onion in a heavy skillet over low heat with 2 tablespoons of butter and oil until caramelized, about an hour, being careful to not burn. Sprinkle with flour and cook slowly for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan.
Add remaining tablespoon of butter and mushrooms to pan. Once mushrooms have released juices and begin to brown stir onion back in with marjoram. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Whisk together eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Gradually stir in onion and mushroom mixture. Check seasoning. Pour into tart shell.
Bake in upper third of oven for 25 to 30 minutes until quiche has puffed and browned.
Can be served hot or cold.

Spinach and Mushrooms on Garlic Toast

Spinach, mushrooms, and garlic are a heavenly combination. This simple dish is one of my favorite lunches. You could toss a fried egg on top and call it breakfast. Make it quite peppery. Serve it on whole grain bread for a healthy meal.

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 cloves garlic
1 pound spinach
4 slices country bread
salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in roomy skillet, add mushrooms, and cook over medium high heat until they have released their juices, and just started to brown, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from pan.

Return pan to heat and add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and one clove of garlic, thinly sliced. Add the spinach, sprinkle with salt, and cook until tender and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pan and toss with the spinach. Taste for salt and pepper.

Brush bread slices with olive oil. Slice remaining garlic clove in half and rub onto bread. Place on wire rack under broiler. Toast until browned. Flip to toast alternate side.

Place bread on plates, top with mushrooms and spinach, and enjoy.

Serves 2-4

Yotam Ottolenghi’s mushroom and tarragon pithivier

3 tbsp olive oil
50g butter
400g shallots, peeled
200g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
150g each shiitake, oyster and buna shimeji mushrooms, cleaned, halved, quartered and divided respectively
300ml vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper
200g crème fraîche
2 tbsp ouzo (or Pernod)
1½ tbsp chopped tarragon
1½ tbsp chopped parsley
900g all-butter puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Heat a large, heavy-based pan with a third of the oil and butter, add the shallots and cook on high heat for 10 minutes, stirring, until soft and brown. Transfer to a bowl. Add another third of the oil and butter to the pan, and cook the chestnut and shiitake mushrooms on medium-high heat for a minute without stirring. Stir, cook for a minute, then add to the bowl. Repeat with the oyster and buna shimeji mushrooms.

Tip everything back in the pan, add the stock and lots of salt and pepper, and simmer vigorously for eight minutes, until reduced by two-thirds. Add the crème fraîche and cook on low heat for eight minutes. Once a relatively small amount of thick sauce is left, add the ouzo and herbs, adjust the seasoning to taste and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cut the pastry in two and roll both blocks into 4mm-thick squares. Rest in the fridge for 20 minutes, then cut into circles, one 27cm in diameter, the other 29cm. Leave to rest in the fridge again for at least 10 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. Place the smaller circle on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, spread the cold mushroom filling on top, leaving a 2cm border all around. Brush the edge with egg, lay the other circle on top and seal the edges. Use a fork to make decorative parallel lines around the edge. Brush with egg and use the blunt edge of a small knife to create circular lines running from the centre to the edge, just scoring the pastry but not cutting through it.

Bake for 35 minutes, until golden on top and cooked underneath. Serve warm or at room temperature.