Saturday, October 1, 2016

Super cheesy, scalloped wild mushrooms with leeks. Vegetation, low carb side dish, gluten-free optional

The best way to keep a massive haul of most kinds of mushrooms is to dry them. Drying is optimal for the boletes, chanterelles and other vase-type mushrooms, morels, lactarius, oysters, jelly fungi, and pretty much any gilled mushroom. I've even had good luck with the small puffballs, though I've never tried it with the large ones. The only group that drying isn't ideal for is the polypores.

And so it was with the mushrooms I used to make this dish. I found a long-lost container of wine-cap mushrooms (Stropharia rugosoannulata) in the back of the pantry. I believe these are from the batch we harvested in spring of 2014, which was from a truly epic flush of mushrooms.

Don't have wild foraged wine-cap 'shrooms? That's ok! Try this dish with store-bought cremini or portobello mushrooms.

We actually moved this container with us across the country, without knowing what it was, because we recycle containers. This was labeled "wild herbal tea". . . but, happy surprise, actually mushrooms!

Anyway, so I found about 6 cups of dried mushrooms. I made the stuffed tofu, and now this awesome side dish. It's low carb, gluten-free optional, you can also make it low fat optional, if you swap out the cream for low or no-fat milk, and use low-fat cheese.

Reconstituting your mushrooms

If you're using fresh mushrooms, skip this step

The way you reconstitute dried mushrooms is just as important as how you dried them - at least from a culinary point of view. For wine-caps, I love to marinate them in a bath of red wine thinned with a little water. Give them time to really soak up the flavor and plump out.

Add equal parts red wine (not something very expensive, but something that would be drinkable on its own. Not cooking wine. ) with warm water. In a large bowl, cover your mushrooms with the water and wine, and add a bay leaf and a pinch of thyme. Cover so that the mushrooms are submerged (I used a dessert plate), and let sit for at least 30 minutes. When reconstituted, remove the bay leaf and drain.

Scalloped wild mushrooms with leeks

Serves 6-8 as a side dish, also heats up well for leftovers

6 cups dried mushrooms, reconstituted; or 4 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
2 large leeks, rinsed and sliced vertically in half, then in portions 2-3 inches long
2 cups heavy cream or low-fat milk
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
6 oz. swiss cheese, low fat optional
1/2 cup parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup, grated 
1/2 stick of butter + 1 pat
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tps. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
3 tps. flour (optional)
1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)
1 tsp. olive oil

Soaking the mushrooms in wine turns them pretty pink,
they almost look like meat. But the pink color cooks out.
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a medium sized pot, and heat over medium. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the butter to the pot, and slowly melt, not letting anything burn. 
  4. When the butter has melted, lower to low temp, and add your flour and stir slowly, till it's incorporated with the butter. This step is optional, I omitted it. But it will be more watery if you don't. You could also use gluten-free flour for a gluten-free option.
  5. Add your stock and raise the temperature to high. Sir constantly till everything is mixed and stock is thickened. Then reduce temp to medium or medium high.
  6. Pour in your cream, and add the thyme, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Continue to heat slowly, stirring constantly, until just under a boil. Heat it through, about 3 minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese.
  7. Use the remaining pat of butter to grease the inside of a a standard 2 quart, oven-safe glass dish. (These are usually about 10" x 15").  
  8. In alternating rows, lay your sliced leeks and wild mushrooms in the glass dish. You want to use about half of your veggies.
  9. Pour half of the cream over the vegetables. Sprinkle with half of the swiss cheese.
  10. Lay the other half of your veggies, mushroom on top of leek, leek on top of mushroom. Pour the remaining cream mixture on top, and cover with the remaining swiss cheese and 1/4 cup parmesan. 
  11. Sprinkle lightly with paprika (optional, it's mostly for color) and put in the oven 
  12. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. 

This image to the left is for my Pinterest. If you're not following me on Pinterest, check it out. I find foraging recipes and information from all over the web to share with you!

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