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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

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Perfectly sautéed mushrooms can elevate any dish to the next level. Whether you’re using them as a side dish, or maybe in lasagna, their beef-like texture and earthy flavor make the perfect meat substitute. Here’s a little secret I’m really excited about, my new upcoming video, on how to incorporate sauteed wild mushrooms into a dish that puts a spin on a traditional recipe we all love. www.YouTube.com/LindaHamel

Mushrooms are like little sponges, they absorb flavor really well. The three things that all mushrooms love are butter, garlic, and Thyme. Whether you choose a domestic mushroom, wild mushrooms, or a combination of both, the cooking technique is the same. This is my recipe for the best-sautéed mushrooms EVER!

First, I’m going to my hanging herb garden to grab a few sprigs of Thyme.

Thyme

Thyme is one of those herbs that pairs well with so many dishes. When Thyme matures,  the stems become hardy and wood-like. If that’s the case, you only want to use their leaves. The sprigs on my plant are still green and tender so, as I snip off a few sprigs for this dish, I don’t worry if the stems get chopped up along with their leaves.

If you are not able to find fresh Thyme, dried Thyme is perfectly fine.  I love the minty/lemony flavor of thyme, so I’m using both types for this recipe.

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I’m using a combination of domestic and wild mushrooms for this recipe. Let’s talk about the different varieties I have here.

Oyster Mushrooms

This one in the above picture is the Oyster mushrooms. Whenever using mushrooms, take a damp cloth and clean the outside to remove any dirt that may be on them. To cut an Oyster mushroom, use a sharp knife to carefully cut around the firm central stem and the individual caps will fall away.

Tip: Reserve the stems for adding to the stock. I’m not slicing the caps any smaller because these are a perfect size.

Trumpet Mushrooms

These are the Trumpet mushrooms. I just slice off the tip off the bottom of the stem,  the rest of the mushroom I cut up into 2-inch chunks.

Both the Cremini (baby Portobello mushrooms) and white Button mushrooms I slice the same way, with their stems.

Shitake Mushrooms (2)

With Shitake mushrooms, I remove their tough stems and slice the caps.  Save the stems for stock.

Portobello Mushroms

The Portobello mushrooms, I remove the stems and then using a spoon, clean their gills from underneath the cap, then slicing them, fairly thick

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Now we are ready,  the mushrooms are prepped

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Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: Deep sided sautépan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thyme leaves
1 tablespoon dried Thyme
( about 1 1/2 pounds of mushrooms total)
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 pint of white Button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 pints of Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
5 Oyster mushrooms, cleaned, central stem removed and discarded
6 Trumpet mushrooms, bottom tip removed, then sliced into 2-inch pieces
10 Shitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1/4 cup unsalted beef stock, or a good red wine

Directions:
In a large deep sided sautépan (if you don’t have one of these pans, sauté your mushrooms in two batches, about 5 minutes per batch) on medium heat,  add unsalted butter, olive oil, fresh and dried Thyme. When butter has melted, add the mushrooms, tossing and stirring continuously.

As the mushrooms cook they will start to release their water. Add in the minced garlic and black pepper, again, stirring occasionally.  Once all their water has evaporated, there will be mushroom bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock and scrape all those delicious bits up using a wooden spoon. Once the mushrooms have really started to brown, this is when you want to salt the mushrooms. Continue stirring and allow the mushrooms to cook, absorbing the remainder of the beef broth and become tender about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

 

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Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu

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Whenever I talk about a “ragù”  it’s usually a meat-based sauce served with some type of pasta. In this case, I thought that using the soft pillowy texture of a potato Gnocchi would be perfect. This is my Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragu.

Let’s start with the ragù.

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Most likely than not, Porcini mushrooms come in dried form. First, the rehydration process of the mushrooms. I like to use unsalted beef broth for the extra flavor it gives the Porcini mushrooms

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Prep Time: 15 minutes (re-hydrating mushrooms)
Cooking Time: 40 minutes (includes the cooking time for browning sausage)
Total Cook Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: 3-quart saucepan, 10-inch non-stick sauté pan, 12-inch rondeau pan, 5-quart saucepot, Microplane for grating
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage, bulk style
1 4.5-ounce package of dried Porcini mushrooms
2 cups of unsalted beef broth
1 cup of mushroom stock (the liquid from the re-hydrated Porcini mushrooms)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of fennel seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 package of store-bought potato gnocchi, substitute homemade
1-1/4 cups of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup of heavy cream
flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish
1 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle over each serving)

Directions:
Start by re-hydrating the Porcini mushrooms over medium-low heat with unsalted beef broth, 15 to 20 minutes until plump. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and transfer them to a cutting board reserving the mushroom liquid. Next, finely dice the mushrooms placing them into a small bowl.

In a rondeau pan over medium heat add the Italian sausage to the pan breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until sausage is completely brown, with no pink, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the grease by using a strainer or a slotted spoon, transferring the sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel.

While the sausage is browning, dice up the onion and mince the garlic, set aside.

Using the same rondeau pan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Stir and let that soften and the onions become translucent 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the chopped Porcini mushrooms, minced garlic, and the fresh thyme leaves, stir to combine.

At this point, add the gnocchi into a pot of boiling salted water.

Pour in the mushroom stock and reduce until a couple of tablespoons of the liquid is left in the pan. Add back in the browned of sausage and crushed tomatoes stir through and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream, stir through.

When it the Gnocchi begins floating they’re done. Using a colander-style spoon transfer the gnocchi into the pan with the ragù, stir gently to combine. Turn the heat to off then add in the grated cheese, again, stir to combine. Garnish with flat leaf Italian parsley.

Ladle the Gnocchi With A Porcini Mushroom And Sweet Italian Sausage Ragù into individual porcelain serving bowls. Top with more of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve hot.

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Pastitsio

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Lately, I’ve been testing a couple Greek Pastitsio recipes. Pastitsio, Greek style lasagna is so delicious.  Instead of just making one pan, I’ve made three to share with family and friends.

Bucatini is the pasta that’s a little thicker than spaghetti with a hole running through the center. I used Bucatini in this dish because it is readily available at local grocery stores. The traditional Greek pasta used for this dish can be found on line. I recently visited an International market, about 30 minutes from my home, and found that particular pasta.

You’ll see in the picture below that they are large tubes of pasta.

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Pastitsio (3)

This dish is definitely is a labor of love but so well worth it. There are three components to this dish, first the pasta, then the meat sauce, and finally the Bechamel. The one thing I find that different in the making of Pastitsio is the type of pasta that’s used. I have some very dear friends that are Greek and traditionally their parents and grandparents used Bucatini. That’s a thicker style of spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center, so that’s what I’m using today. I’m going to start with the tender and flavorful meat sauce.

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Directions step by step:
In a deep sided pot that been heating up on med heat I’ve added 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. To the oil, I’m adding some spices. I have oregano, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and ground cumin that I’m adding in to flavor the meat. I let the spices bloom in the hot oil and this is going to flavor the meat.

To the pot, I’m adding in a diced yellow onion that I’m going to saute until soft and translucent. Next,  I’m sprinkling in a pinch of Kosher salt and black pepper, and just stirring the diced onion so it gets really good and coated in the spices.

I have some lean ground beef and lamb that I’m adding to the pot to start browning and getting a hold of those delicious spices. I turn the heat up to med high, and using a wooden utensil I break up the meat. This is when I add in the minced garlic and let that cook for about 10 minutes or until all the meat is nice and brown.

Once the meat is nice and brown I like to drain any excess fat off the meat before returning it to the pot. Next, I’m adding in a good red wine. I’m using a Merlot, 1 cup. I let this come back up to a boil still on med high heat, then reduce the heat to med low, to a simmer, until all the wine has been absorbed. Once that’s happened I add in the whole can of crushed tomatoes.

I go ahead now and turn the heat back up to medium, and let cook for about 40-45 minutes stirring occasionally. Right before the sauce is done I add in some fresh thyme leaves and oregano. I stir the fresh herbs through and set the meat sauce aside before starting on the next phase of the Pastitsio. Next, the pasta.

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Cook the pasta to just under the al dente stage. Drain the pasta really well.  I have some Pecorino Romano cheese, that I’ve coarsely ground up in the food processor. Transfer the drained  pasta into a container. Add 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of softened unsalted butter. Toss butter through really well. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together while it sits to the side until I’m ready for it. I’m also adding some of the ground up Percorino cheese and tossing that through the Bucatini.

The second component to this dish is finished. Now for the Bechamel sauce.

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To start the Bechamel sauce for the Pastitsio, I have a pot that I have on med heat with some unsalted butter melting in the bottom. To that I’m adding in some flour that I’ve whisked until the flour and butter has made a smooth paste.

Next, I’m adding in some milk and heavy cream that have been heated (on the back burner) right below the boiling point. To the heated milk and cream mixture, add in some Kosher salt, black pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg. Stir that though before slowly adding the milk and cream mixture to the roux. Wisk continuously until everything starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon.

This is when I add in some grated Pecorino cheese. Next, I ladle in some of the flavorful meat sauce into the Bechamel. Allow the mixute to cool before adding in the beaten eggs, and the room temperature Greek yogurt.

Well, that’ the last of the components for this dish. Now it’s time to put this bad boy together.

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First, I toss the prepared Bucatini in with the meat sauce.

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I have 3- 9 x 9 disposable pans that I’ve lightly butter. Remember I’m sharing with some really good friends of mine who happen to be Greek and to get their opinion on my take on this delicious recipe.

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I transfer a third of the Bucatini, in meat sauce, and divide that equally between the three pans. Next, I spread some of that delicious and creamy Bechamel sauce, equally, over the top so that it covers the pasta with meat sauce completely.

Sprinkle a good helping of the grated Pecorino cheese over the top of each pan. Place them into a 350 degree oven and bake them for 1 hour. The top should have a bubbly golden brown crust.

While it’s still hot, I chop up, very finely some Italian flat leaf parsley to sprinkle over the top for color.

Let this rest for at least 15 minutes to set before cutting.

I wanted to say, that this dish freezes beautifully.  Let cool completely, wrap them in foil, then again in plastic wrap really tightly. Then label and date them so you can have Pastitsio any time you like. When you ready to heat them up, place a pan into the frig to thaw over night.

Next, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Take a new piece of foil and lightly spray, the dull side, with non- stick cooking spray.  This will prevent the cheese topping from sticking to the foil. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and heat for about 30-35 minutes or until hot all the way through.

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Yields: 18 servings
Equipment: 3- 9 x 9 disposable pans
Ingredients For Meat sauce
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large diced yellow onion
1 pound of lean ground beef
2 pounds of ground lamb
1 cup of Merlot
5 cloves of minced garlic
1-1/2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1- 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes with their juice
1 stick of unsalted butter, reserve some for greasing the baking dish

Ingredients For Bechamel Sauce:
2 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 a stick of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of all- purpose flour
1/2 a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
3 cups of grated Pecorino cheese (1-1/2 cups for the Bechamel, 1 cup to toss with the pasta, 1/2 a cup for the topping)
2 extra large beaten eggs
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1 pound of Bucatini
Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:
Making the sauce. Heat the olive oil over med heat in a large pot. Add in the oregano, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to bloom in the oil first. Then add the diced onion seasoning with Kosher salt and pepper. Stir the onion until well coated with the spices and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the meat in and break up with a wooden utensil, and also add in the minced garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes. After the meat minture has browned nicely drain off the excess fat and return the meat mixture back into the pot. Turn the pot up to med high heat and add in the wine. Let it come to a boil, reduce the heat to med low and let the wine reduce completely. This takes a couple of minutes. Next, add in the crushed tomatoes. Turn the heat back up to med and let the meat sauce simmer for about 45 minutes. About half way through taste for seasoning. This is the perfect time to add a light sprinkling of Kosher salt and pepper and stir that through.Be sure to stir the sauce occasionally through this process. Once finished set aside

While the sauce is simmering, prepare the pasta. Cook just under the al dente stage because it still has to bake. Once drained really well, add the unsalted butter. Toss the butter through. Then add in  Pecorino cheese and toss that through to coat the pasta. Set aside

Next for the Bechamel. Heat the milk and cram together in a sauce pan. Once just under the boiling point, 2-3 minutes, add in the Kosher salt, black pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg and stir through. In another pan melt the butter add in the flour whisking continuously Once the flour and butter are smooth and thick,add in the milk mixture and continue whisking for about 5 minutes or until the thicken white sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon. Now off the heat add in the grated Percorino cheese, 1 cup of the meat sauce. Stir this though and allow to cool before adding in the beaten eggs and Greek yogurt. Set aside.

Now add the pasta to the meat sauce and toss through so everything is mixed well  Place the pasta and meat sauce mixture divided evenly in the bottom of the pans, To that pour the Bechamel sauce evenly and equally over the three pans covering the pasta completely. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of each pan.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown. Sprinkle some fresh finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish over the top of each one. Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into.

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French Dip Sandwiches With Sauteed Mushrooms, onions, And Peppers

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Some nights I’m in such a hurry because I’m trying to finish watching Dexter on Netflix. I just want to plug my earphones in and disappear into that show. Yes, I know, I’m hooked!

When it comes to dinner it has to be something quick and easy and my French Dip Sandwiches With Sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, And Peppers is just the ticket. I’m going to be taking some help from the grocery store for this recipe. I’m going to be using sliced top round deli rare roast beef for this recipe. Remember, I really want to finish watching Dexter.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: Cast iron skillet, Grill Press, 3-quart saucepot, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans

Ingredients:
4 hoagie rolls
3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound of top round deli roast beef, rare
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 pound of Provolone cheese.
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 pint of sliced Cremini mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 onion, thinly slice into half moons
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups unsalted beef broth
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (for Au jus)
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Directions:
In a saucepot on the back burner, heat the beef and chicken broth on medium-low. Toss in 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, Worcestershire sauce, Kosher salt, and black pepper to taste, whisk to combine. Allow the Au Jus to come up to temperature then reduce the heat to low to keep hot.

In a preheated cast iron skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the sliced onions, cook, stirring frequently, until they are very soft and golden in color, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, cook for 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms, season with Kosher salt and black pepper, continue cooking stirring from time to time, until all the moisture given off by the mushrooms has evaporated and they’ve turned golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the peppers, season again with the remaining Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, stirring frequently, until the peppers have softened and are brown in color around the edges, another 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place all the sliced rare deli roast beef on a plate, dividing into 4 equal portions.

Preheat oven to broil.
In a  preheated cast iron skillet, on medium-low heat, place the buttered hoagie rolls face down into the pan, placing the grill press on top. This guarantees the hoagies will brown evenly and takes only 1 to 2 minutes per hoagie. Transfer the buttered/toasted hoagie rolls to a rimmed baking sheet pan. Lay three slices of Provolone cheese layered across the top of each hoagie.

Place the hoagies under the broiler just long enough to melt the cheese.
Note:  Keep a close eye on the hoagies the cheese melts quickly.  Turn the broiler off, remove the hoagies from the oven, it’s time to assemble the sandwiches.

Using a pair of tongs, dunk the first portion of the beef into the hot Au jus then place onto the hoagie. Top with a good amount of the onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Serve  with a side of the Au jus.

 

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