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CREAMY MUSHROOM RAGOUT

February 14, 2012 10:26 pm 0 comments

The Creamy Mushroom Ragout is an easy and elegant, versatile, subtle flavors and delicious. This dish can be served as a first course, main course or even as a sauce for chicken or meat. Creamy Mushroom ragout goes well with garlic toast.

Made with wild mushrooms like white button mushrooms, shitake, lobster mushrooms etc is delicately cooked with subtle flavors of fresh or dried thyme, pepper, Marsala wine or sherry or white vinegar together mixed with crème fraiche or heavy cream making the dish creamy and soft. Button mushrooms have a unique flavor that can be matched by few other mushrooms. Button mushroom does not have a specific flavor but most people describe the mushroom as “plain”, whereas other people say that the button mushroom tastes slightly sweet or “meaty”.

Button mushroom are generally found cooked on pizzas, raw on salads, casseroles, stuffed mushrooms and in various other variety of dishes. Mushrooms are naturally cholesterol, fat and sodium free. Hence it is amazingly a light and nutritious dish to relish on. Mushrooms contain a high amount of vitamin B and potassium and fairly rich in vitamins and minerals.

Shiitaki is another popular mushroom that is the most gourmets of the fresh mushrooms cultivated around the world. It has smooth spongy texture and taste better when cooked. They exceptionally add a meaty sensation to pasta, soups, appetizers, entrees and supplementary dishes. These types of mushrooms have main nutritional qualities and are generally served as a main dish. Currently they constitute as one of the main protein sources in Japan, China and several countries in the pacific.

Lobster mushrooms are the other variety of mushrooms that makes a great meat or seafood substitute for vegetarians or vegans. They taste exceptionally delicious in stir fries giving a dense texture. They are also extremely good in soups, chowders, risotto, stews, and sautéed or baked. They have a wide range of flavor and easily pick up flavors from other ingredients while cooking. Lobster mushrooms are known as hypomyces lactifluorum that appear to be white mushrooms with bright red skin, dense flesh and having slight seafood like taste. The red skin resembles a lobster, hence the name Lobster Mushroom. This fungus grows on the mushroom, which changes their outer color, shape, and also their flavor. The red fungus coating makes an excellent dye, keep this in mind when preparing them in a festive, colorful dish.

Before we get to start preparing this dish, firstly select the mushrooms you wish to add and slice them into equal sized pieces. Any combo of fresh mushrooms available at your super market will work and if you cannot get fresh wild mushrooms then use the trick of adding some dried porcini or morel to plain button mushrooms as their funky flavors will permeate the porous flesh of the regular mushrooms.

The procedure for preparing this dish is quite simple and fast to cook. In a large heavy bottomed pan, add in some butter and turn the heat to high. When it foams, add all the sliced mushrooms and mix well. Add some salt and pepper and sauté until brown. The salt and peppers brings out all the water content from the mushrooms and this should take about 15 minutes to boil and water to evaporate. Just cook all the water out. Leave it on high; it will go faster. And then when all the water is evaporated, then the mushrooms will start to sauté and brown.

When the mushrooms get browned, nice and sautéed add in some chopped garlic and sauté for a minute. Add marsala wine (optional) or white vinegar or champagne and stir well and cook for about 30 seconds till the alcohol gets evaporated. . (Tip: Here you could tip the pan and flambé as all the alcohol will burn off and give a rustic burnt flavor – This is just done in the restaurant style, hence be careful before you think of doing it).

Add the chicken stock or water and heavy cream. Mix all ingredients well and cook for three minutes and it will slowly start to thicken up. The creamy mushroom ragout looks very delicious and smells incredible. Finish it off with half the thyme and lastly garnish with the remaining thyme. Remember that the final sauce should not be liquid at all but have a rather creamy texture. Spoon it on a freshly made garlic toast or spread it over toasted bread. Superbly magnificent dish!

If you don’t have a toast to put over than you could also put over a piece of chicken or steak and experience the exotic dish.

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