Monday, November 2, 2009

Mushroom Ragout

Sadly, my husband and I don't agree on a lot of our food choices. I understand that not everyone loves seafood. But I struggle to understand his dislike of most cheeses and cheesey dishes. For me, cheesey pasta dishes rank high on my list of favorite comfort foods. Just thinking about a big casserole dish of lasagna or moussaka makes me happy. (Note to self - make moussaka soon & blog about it here!) Mushrooms is also pretty high on the list of foods we disagree about. My friend Allison loves mushrooms, and her husband Dave told the story how he used to dislike them, but somehow 'came around' and now enjoys them as much as she does. I've stopped holding my breath that will happen in our house, but I don't stop cooking them for the rest of the family.

This 'ragout' is really just a creamy sautee of herbed mushrooms that can be put on top of any meat. Or, in the case of my mushroom-crazy kids, just eaten as a side. Sometimes I enjoy experimenting with different wild mushrooms for the flavor & texture combinations. Though, my sister's boyfriend's friend attended the CIA and shared 'all mushrooms can taste great' if you follow a simple rule to let them sit in the sautee pan, uncrowded and undisturbed, until they are nicely browned. Then flip and wait some more. It had been a few years since I switched from buying 'plain' white mushrooms to other varieties at the store. Thanks to this tip, I now also enjoy tasty mushroom dishes with inexpensive white mushrooms as well.

Really, this can be used for just about anything. Mushroom ragout is fantastic served on top of beef (filet) or a chicken breast. You could also add in some parmesean cheese and toss with farfalle or another short pasta. Can you imagine how happy that dinner would make my husband - mushrooms AND cheese. Probably (definitely) won't be serving that in our house anytime soon, so you should enjoy it at yours!

Mushroom Ragout
Adapted from Mushroom Ragout

1/2 lb white mushrooms, sliced
2 large shallots, minced
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or leaves from 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs)
salt & pepper
1/3 C white wine
2-3T heavy cream

Melt butter in large, flat-bottom sautee pan over high heat. Add mushrooms in a single layer and let cook, undisturbed, for five minutes. Turn mushrooms over, add shallots, thyme and salt & pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add wine and mix to combine, scraping up browned bits from the pan. Add cream, bring to boil, stir and serve.

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