Mushroom Ragout

Yesterday, while in San Gabriel on business, I visited the local Asian superstore my Grandma used to shop at (she lived just a few blocks away).  I was in heaven.  I saw many familiar foods from my childhood (including tropical fruits) and other foods I had never seen and had no idea how to prepare.  I had to laugh at the “Vegetarian” aisle that had row upon row of deep-fried pork rinds, with only a small section devoted to “soy-meat” products.  One joy of ethnic markets, however, is finding foods considered “gourmet” and pricey in conventional or upscale markets at ridiculously cheap prices.  This was the case with mushrooms.  I found many varieties of fresh mushrooms, which would often sell for in excess of $8 a pound elsewhere, for less than $2 a pound.  Considering how light they are, you can buy an awful lot of mushrooms for less than $5 and prepare a spectacular meal.  When I saw these mushrooms, I put aside my original menu for tonight and decided to make Mushroom Ragout.  Easy-peasy.

  • 1 ½ pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (I used trumpet, oyster, shitake and beech mushrooms) swished in water, shaken dry; root and tough stems removed; large mushrooms slice into thick slices – keep large and small mushrooms separate.
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large shallot peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¾ cup light sour cream blended with 1 tsp cornstarch (the cornstarch stabilizes the sour cream so that it will not curdle over the heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp parsley minced.

Heat butter and olive oil in a very large skillet over medium high heat.  Add large mushrooms, being careful not to crowd them in the pan.  Turn them occasionally to brown them.  When they are lightly browned, add the smaller mushrooms and brown them.  Add shallots and cook until shallots are soft.  Add brandy and shake pan until brandy evaporates.  Add beef stock and stir, bringing to a boil.  Turn off the heat; then add sour cream.  The residual heat of the sauce will heat the sour cream.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve over polenta or couscous.  Makes 4 servings.

Couscous

 

  •  1 cup couscous
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Put couscous and water into a medium microwave-proof bowl.  Microwave over high setting for three minutes.  Add butter and fluff with a fork.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Makes 4 servings.

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