Tomorrow I am heading home for the holidays. It will be spent with great family, food and friends.
And as I wonder what dishes I could make when I am home, I remind myself that no one likes mushrooms!
WHAT?! Can it be true?
I wasn’t really introduced to the foods my parents don’t like.
Boiled beef (my Mom loves it, though – I have no interest in ever trying it!).
Fair enough, my kids will never have to suffer through eating celery.
Myself, I was a late bloomer towards mushrooms. I started with an affinity for shiitakes, and then fell in love when I tried enoki mushrooms. Shimeji are a nice woodsy, hearty mushroom, as well. Portobellos were always a nice meaty, treat. Then there’s the oyster mushroom, which tasted like seafood in the barley risotto. (Fair enough, I discovered my love for these wild mushrooms at the same time I found T&T!). I still shun the typical button mushrooms, especially if raw, but recently wanted to try yet another mushroom: cremini.
Truth be told, cremini mushrooms are the same as portobello mushrooms. They are baby portobellos. Once they reach 4-6″, they have graduated to portobello heaven. They are similar to button mushrooms in shape, but taste-wise they are meatier – they are more dense with a deeper flavour.
I was intrigued by Michael’s recipe for a Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew on Herbivoracious. He chose to use thick, quartered cremini mushrooms, that were browned. Because the mushrooms were thick, they kept their chewiness but were still slightly crispy on the outside. These flavourful mushrooms were paired with lentils with a hint of smoked paprika and a sherry vinaigrette, and topped with a light, sour tomato-basil salad.
I enjoyed the combination of flavours, of textures and of temperatures. The lentils were smokey with the paprika but the vinaigrette and tomatoes were sour; the lentils were smooth, the mushrooms chewy and the tomatoes crisp; the lentils and mushrooms were warm, the tomatoes cold. You look at the ingredient list and notice how deceiving it looks. It worked really well.
And now onto the winner of my first giveaway from csn stores. Congratulations to Janice who likes to make a noodle and vegetable soup. It sounds delicious. Let me know if you don’t get my email, Janice.
This is my submission to this round of Blog Bites 9, holiday buffet, potluck-style!
Spanish Lentil and Mushroom Stew
1 green onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup French green lentils, picked over and washed (preferably du Puy, but green or brown will work fine, too! They just take a bit longer to cook)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon + 1 tsp sherry vinegar, divided
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered lengthwise
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 big leaves of basil, chiffonade
black pepper, to taste
1. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. When hot, saute the onions with a pinch of salt for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to saute for 1 minute, until the onions and garlic are softened. Add the lentils with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until tender but not falling apart, around 20 minutes if using du Puy lentils. When they are done, if there is a lot of water left over, drain it and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a very hot saute pan, fry the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turning occasionally. Try to get them to brown well on most sides. Season with salt.
3. When the lentils are cooked, add the smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 tablespoon of sherry vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning.
4. Toss the cherry tomatoes and basil with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar, and a pinch of salt.
5. To serve, divide the lentils into bowls. Top with the mushrooms, and top that with the tomato salad. Give the whole thing a grind of black pepper and another little dusting of smoked paprika, if desired.