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Home Cooking: Mushrooms two ways

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Home Cooking

Sometimes a trip to the grocery store can completely change your menu, or in my case, the subject of my food column.

I had planned to present three lovely autumn soups for your enjoyment this week. An early morning trip to City Market changed my plans when I discovered that mushrooms were on sale.  

I can’t resist a bargain. So I bought two packages of portobello mushroom tops and two packages of sliced white button mushrooms — a total of 4 pounds of mushrooms!

What was I going to do with 4 pounds of mushrooms? I wanted to cook them right away, so two delicious mushroom dishes, which are as easy as they are elegant, took center stage.

This mushroom stew is delicious served over polenta for a hearty dinner.
Photo by Suzanne Anderson / Home Cooking

Mushroom stew

This mushroom stew is delicious served over polenta for a hearty dinner or served atop toasted slices of baguette as a perfect autumnal appetizer. The sherry and fresh thyme that are added at the end bring the magic.

  • 1 pound portobello mushroom tops, sliced in half and then into 1-inch thick pieces
  • 1 pound white or brown button mushrooms or an assortment fancy mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Saute the mushroom and onions in 1-2 tablespoon of butter and a sprinkling of salt until the onions are softened and the mushrooms have released their liquid. (Don’t be afraid when you put the fresh mushrooms into the skillet. They’ll quickly cook down as they release their delicious liquids.)

Add the minced garlic along with the sprigs of thyme.

Add another 1-2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle the contents of the pan with the flour. Stir and allow the flour to cook. Then add the water and sherry. Continue to stir until a thickened gravy has formed. Taste and adjust seasonings, and remove thyme sprigs before serving.

Serve this mushroom tart with a side salad for a simple dinner in front of the fireplace.
Photo by Suzanne Anderson / Home Cooking

Mushroom tart

This dish looks complex because of its crown of phyllo, but it is deceptively easy for a dish that looks so elegant! The secret ingredient is blue cheese. which elevates the dish and adds a depth of flavor. It would be a perfect side dish or main course. I’d serve it with a side salad for a simple dinner in front of the fireplace.

  • 1 pound of portobello mushrooms, sliced in half and then into 1 inch thick pieces
  • 1 pound of white or brown button mushrooms or an assortment fancy mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5-6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 package phyllo dough
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Saute the mushroom and onions in 1-2 tablespoon of butter and a sprinkling of salt, until the onions are softened and the mushrooms have released their liquid. Add the minced garlic at the end, along with the sprigs of thyme.

Taste and adjust seasonings, and remove the thyme sprigs.

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and use it to lightly brush the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Add two sheets of phyllo dough and brush with a light layer of butter. Add two more phyllo sheets at a 90-degree angle (so the bottom is covered and edges of dough are hanging over the skillet on all sides), and brush with another layer of butter. Gently spoon the mushroom mixture into the skillet and top with blue cheese crumbles.

Now for the fun part: Gently take two phyllo sheets at a time and loosely crumple them up as if you were crumpling a sheet of paper. Not too tight! Gently place the crumpled phyllo sheet on top of the mushroom mixture. Continue doing this until the top of the skillet it covered.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the phyllo sheets are golden brown. Gently cut into slices and serve.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Home Cooking” publishes biweekly on Thursdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson taught herself to cook after college when she discovered dinner parties were a cure for loneliness. Her latest cookbook is “A Year in the Mountains Cookbook.” She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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