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Morel Mushrooms

 

It’s that time of the year to go mushroom hunting.  There is nothing better than a plate of fresh fried morel mushrooms unless you try them sautéed, baked or in a cream sauce.

 

SIMPLE FRIED MOREL MUSHROOMS

 

1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, halved

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup vegetable shortening

salt and pepper to taste

 

Place halved morel mushrooms in a large bowl and cover with cold, lightly salted water. Refrigerate mushrooms for about five minutes to loosen any dirt. Pour off salted water, rinse and repeat twice more. Thoroughly rinse mushrooms a final time and allow mushrooms to drain on paper towels. Place flour and pepper in a shallow bowl. Heat vegetable shortening in a large skillet until very hot. Roll mushrooms in flour and tap off excess. Gently lay mushrooms in the hot shortening. Pan-fry until golden brown and flour coating is crisp, for 5 to 8 minutes, turning often. Drain morels on paper towels. Salt to taste and enjoy your treasure.

 

SAUTÉED MOREL MUSHROOMS

 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 ounces morel mushrooms, cleaned and split in half

1 small shallot, minced  (about 2 tablespoons)

1 medium clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs such as chives, chervil, or parsley

 

Heat oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until well-browned, about four minutes total. Reduce heat to medium-high and add shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add butter, soy sauce, lemon juice and chicken stock or water and cook, swirling pan, until liquid reduces and morels are coated in a creamy sauce, about one minute. Stir in herbs, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

 

HEAVENLY MOREL TARTS

 

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 ounces fresh morel mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram, crushed

1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1 egg, lightly beaten

 

FOR PASTRY:

Veat together cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and beat on low speed until combined. Cover and chill for at least one hour or until dough is easy to handle. Meanwhile, clean mushrooms. Place morel mushrooms in a large bowl and cover with cold tap water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Soak for 10-15 minutes. Drain, rinse and repeat two more times. Drain thoroughly and pat mushrooms dry with paper towels. Chop mushrooms (about 2 cups).

FOR FILLING:

Cook onion in three tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat until tender. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly evaporated. Remove from heat. Stir together sour cream, two tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, marjoram and rosemary in a small bowl until combined. Stir sour cream mixture into mushroom mixture. Use your hands to slightly flatten the dough on a floured surface. Roll dough from center to edges to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 24 3-inch circles, re-rolling dough as necessary. Using small cutter, make cutouts in the center of half of the rounds or cut a slit in half of the rounds to the steam escape during baking. Place 12 of the circles, without cutouts on an ungreased baking sheet. Place about one tablespoon of the filling in the center of each. Moisten edges of filled pastry with a little water. Add the remaining 12 circles with cutouts or slits. Crimp edges together with a fork. Brush tops with beaten egg. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

 

MOREL MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE WITH PASTA

 

3 cups chicken stock or broth

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/3 cup finely chopped shallots

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon snipped fresh thyme

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream

1/4 cup snipped fresh flat-leaf parsley

hot cooked pasta

 

For sauce: melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add shallots. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until shallots are tender. Sprinkle flour over shallots and stir to combine. Slowly add reserved one cup of broth, stirring until smooth. Reduce to low heat. Cook uncovered, for seven minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and white pepper. Slowly whisk in the whipping cream. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat for seven minutes more or until the mixture thickens. Stir in reserved morels and 1/4 cup parsley. Cook and stir until heated through. Spoon sauce over pasta.

 

FOOD FACTS:

Bring salted water to a boil, stir in pasta, cover and turn off the heat. Check the pot in ten minutes.

Cookies will stay moist in the jar if a slice of bread is placed in the jar.

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