Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

Sometimes a fun, if not a great, notion

March 8, 2015

Blame it on the weather induced cabin fever.

Dinner is served: Pork Roll Wellington, roasted potatoes, salad.

Dinner is served: Pork Roll Wellington, roasted potatoes, salad.

Or maybe it is a hyper awareness of all things pork roll. One friend is working on putting together his second festival honoring that local indigenous product and another has just released a book on the subject.

Whatever the cause, “inspiration” struck earlier this week and I just had to act on it: Pork Roll Wellington!

Right out of the oven!

Right out of the oven!

Don’t laugh (yet).

What if we dressed up this Jersey favorite pork product with some chicken liver pâté and mushroom duxelles and then wrapped the package in some puff pastry? Would it be edible? Tasty? Worth the effort?

2015-03-08 15.47.01OK. Laugh if you want, but it wasn’t that bad. And it wasn’t that difficult.

I adapted this recipe for Beef Wellington.  Instead of the beef tenderloin, I used one of those cute little 1 pound “chubs” of Cases’ Pork Roll. I made the chicken liver pâté last night from the recipe linked to from the Beef Wellington page (click here). The duxelles I made earlier today so they could cool down.

As per the recipe, I mixed the mushrooms and some of the pâté together. After rolling out a sheet of puff pastry, I spread the mixture over the pastry. Having removed the pork roll from its traditional canvas casing, I then set it on the “dressed” pastry dough and rolled it up. The seam and the ends were sealed with some beaten egg and pressed together. Placing the package seam side down on a baking sheet, I set it back in the refrigerator to cook later.

Have you ever seen a "naked" pork roll?

Have you ever seen a “naked” pork roll?

Since the pork roll comes “ready to eat” you only have to bake the dish long enough to heat it through and brown the dough nicely. I put mine in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes and then lowered the temp to 400 for another 15 or so.

Admittedly I didn’t know how this would come out but it tasted pretty good. I might try adding an “inner wrap” of phyllo dough (in place of the crepes in the original) to act as a vapor barrier and reduce the sogginess of the underside of the pastry crust. My wellington stuck a little to the aluminum foil I lined the baking sheet with. A bit of oil, Pam, or maybe using a silpat should remedy that.

Give it a try. It’s a fun way to dress up an old standby.

A little slice of pig heaven.

A little slice of pig heaven.


Funghi e Peperoncino

August 9, 2010

One of my favorite places for a satisfying meal used to be Cesare’s Cafe in the Chambersburg section of town. The Pingitore family always made guests feel welcome and no one ever left there hungry or dissatisfied. At least not that I know of.

At this time of the year, Cesare’s garden would be overrun with peppers and he would share the bounty. Guests would be treated to a free starter of hot peppers sautéed with mushrooms.

Funghi e peperoncino

Ann was at the Trenton Farmers’ Market Sunday and picked up a few hot peppers. That got me thinking about Cesare’s little treat.

Since we had a large and later than usual lunch this afternoon, I decided to pick up some mushrooms and make my own version. Accompanied with a glass of wine and a slice (or two) of crusty bread for sopping up the juices, I had a light, savory and satisfying summer supper.

Funghi e peperoncino

  • Olive oil
  • ½ to ¾ pounds of fresh mushrooms coarsely chopped*
  • 2 hot peppers (I used long, banana type peppers), cored and seeded, sliced into ¼ inch rings
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 – 3 Tbs dry white wine
  • 3 Tbs of minced fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme in this case)

Pour just enough oil in a large skillet to film the bottom and heat over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. Toss or stir frequently until they mushrooms give up their water and start to brown.

Add the cut up peppers and toss.

Add garlic and toss again. Make sure to NOT burn the garlic.

After 2 or 3 minutes, add the white wine.

Toss frequently until wine has reduced. Add fresh herbs, toss and serve.

*brown button mushrooms are fine, but tonight I used a mixture of brown, oyster and shiitake mushrooms.

This makes a great light meal, a good starter, or an accompaniment to grilled meats. It would also make a good topping for a pizza or flat bread.

Mushroom soup

January 3, 2010
The sugar plums that recently danced in my head seem to have settled around my waist for a long winter’s nap.  The inevitable (at least for me) holiday bloat has achieved maximum proportions and now it’s time to get back to some more healthy and moderate eating habits.
With the weather having turned cold again, soup sprang to mind.  So I decided to try my hand at a hearty, satisfying but healthy pot of mushroom soup.
This was not going to be a rich and fat filled cream of mushroom soup as envisioned by Campbell’s, Knorr’s or some other commercial mass producer.  Rather I was looking for something a tad lighter in calories yet flavorful enough to satisfy. 
Mushrooms are, in and of themselves, quite nutritional.  They are rich in the B vitamins, Potassium and Selenium; low in fat, high in fiber; and the provide all the required amino acids to be considered a complete source of protein.  And they taste good…not a claim that can be made by every healthful food.
Search around your pantry, the fridge and the cupboards.  You probably have all you need to whip up a batch of mushroom soup:
  •  Fresh and/or dried mushrooms
  • Shallot, onion and/or garlic
  • Butter and/or Olive Oil
  • Stock of some sort
  • Salt, pepper and maybe some fresh herbs (parsley or thyme) 
Here’s what I used: 
  • 8 ounce package of fresh “Baby-Bella” (Crimini) mushrooms
  • 1 cup of dried “woodland” mushrooms
  • Two large shallots
  • 1 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Dry fino sherry
  • 1 sprig Fresh thyme
  • 1 quart Mushroom stock 
I began by soaking a cup of the dried mushrooms in two cups of boiling water.  Then I went about gathering the rest of my ingredients so that, by the time I was ready to add the reconstituted mushrooms, they had been soaking for 20-30 minutes.  You could omit the dried mushrooms and just use all fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped.
Over medium high heat, I melted about a tablespoon of butter in a four and a half quart sauce pan.  Before the butter melted completely I added about two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.  This raised the smoking point of the butter a little, kept the whole recipe a little lighter and added another level of flavor. You could use all butter or all olive oil.
With the butter/oil mixture hot, I added the minced shallots and sweat them until tender, but not caramelized. I’m very fond of shallots but if you don’t have some on hand, a 1/4 up of chopped onion and a clove of garlic could be substituted.
I tossed a couple of whole sprigs of fresh thyme and some fresh ground black pepper in with the shallots and stirred. If you have dried thyme on hand instead, you could add it later when you add all the stock.
Coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms and add to the pot.  Stir occasionally until browned and cooked down.  I drained the dried mushrooms and reserved the liquid.  Once the fresh mushrooms had cooked down a bit, I stirred in the dried ones.  At this point, I removed the thyme sprig from the pot.
I took a quarter cup of Fino sherry and stirred it into the pot, taking care to gather up any of the fond and stir it into the liquid.  A cream sherry might have been better, but the Fino was what I had on hand and open; a Marsala might be good; or any red or white wine you enjoy would probably work as well. Once the pot was deglazed, I added the reserved mushroom soaking liquid being careful not to let any of the grit that had settled out get into the soup pot.  I then added a quart of boxed, organic mushroom stock (chicken or vegetable stock would work just as well). 
Reducing the flame to low, I used an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot.  If you don’t have one of these culinary magic wands, you can use a food processor or blender.  Just be sure to cool the mixture first to avoid a messy and potentially dangerous eruption.
Once pureed, add salt and adjust seasonings to taste.  Reheat and serve.
It’s a simple, tasty and healthy tonic for whatever ails you.