Mushrooms are an amazing thing. I loved them the moment I first had a button mushroom cooked in butter, with a little garlic. I loved them raw, and eraser-like, in my salad. I loved them microwaved in a cup of water, pickled in salt or vinegar, raw and whole and probably covered in cow feces. I loved them stuffed, thrown into a vat of molten soondobu, sliced thinly like ceviche. Any way, I love them.
Not everyone loves mushrooms. There are a lot of people who downright hate them. I have to believe those folks have never had a properly prepared mushroom. The tastes are so varied and complex and meaty.
A wonderful winter meal, showcasing shrooms, follows- it is my very favorite for the cold winter months. Mushroom and Wild Rice Stoup, with wild mushroom flatbreads.
MUSHROOM AND WILD RICE “STOUP”
The first day, this hearty winter meal will present as a soup. Overnight though, it will soak up most of its liquid and resemble a very thick stew. It tastes very brown, very hearty, and very warming, perfect for a cold winter night.
Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Makes about 10 servings
1 cup wild rice
1 large diced onion
5 celery stalks, diced
1 lb Shiitake Mushrooms
1/2 lb Crimini Mushrooms
8 oz chopped Seitan
2 Cups Baby Kale
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3 Tablespoons Flour
1.5 Cups White Wine
2 Bay Leaves
4 cups “Unchicken” stock (plain veggie stock is ok too.)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
1 Cup lite coconut milk
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
2 teaspoons Salt
2 Tablespoons oil
Begin by boiling a pot of water. When it comes to a boil, add 1 t. salt and all of the wild rice. Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes, until the rice splits open. Drain and set aside when done.
While the rice is cooking, heat up the oil on medium-high, and cook the onions and celery for 5 minutes. When the onions are translucent and soft, add the rest of the salt and the mushrooms and turn down the heat to medium. Cook for a full 20 minutes, allowing the mushrooms to slowly turn brown, and for brown goo to begin to collect at the bottom of the pan. Stir mixture occasionally.
Once the full 20 minutes is up, add the seitan and stir for 2 minutes. Add Garlic and Oregano and stir for another minute. Next, sprinkle in the flour and cook until the veggies are covered in flour and the flour begins to look sticky, another 2 minutes or so.
Turn the heat back up and add in the wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan carefully; all of that beatiful brown created by the mushrooms needs to mix with the wine. Cook for another 3-5 minutes so that the wine reduces.
Add the bayleaf and stock, and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add in the coconut milk and the rosemary, and then the wild rice. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir in the baby kale a minute or two before you take it off of the heat. Add the cider vinegar at the very end to brighten it up.
WILD MUSHROOM FLATBREADS
These little flatbreads were total improv. The key is slowly cooking the mushrooms in the beginning; it adds an earthy “Brown” flavor that complements, but can also easily stand alone from, the brightness of the pesto.
Makes 10 servings
14 oz whole wheat pizza dough
3 T pesto
6 oz mixed wild mushrooms
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 C Baby Kale
1 t olive oil
Heat the oil in a pan on medium. Cook mushrooms with salt, slowly stirring for 15 minutes.
While mushrooms are cooking, divide dough into 10 equal pieces and spread out in oval shapes on a lightly sprayed pan. Preheat oven to 450, or whatever temperature your dough states.
if you leave the dough to rest, you can go back in a few minutes and usually stretch it a little more.
spread 1 t. of pesto on each piece of dough. Distribute the cooked mushrooms on top of the pesto, and top with a few thin slices of pepper, then top each flatbread with the baby kale.
Cook in oven until dough is cooked and edges are browned.