Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wild Mushroom Ragu


What kind of woman would I be if I didn't like mushrooms?  I love them!  I look at my brother, who is not a mushroom lover in the least and I judge him for it-I mean seriously I'm not sure we're related at all anymore.  But putting his bad food decisions aside, I love this dish because it is literally jam packed with mushrooms and flavor. 

Though this is not a traditional ragu in the sense that there isn't any meat at all.  It does mimic the technics that go with a ragu.  Traditionally, ragu is a meat based sauce, it is usually cooked slowly by braising or stewing.  It can be done with any type of meat,  with an assortment of different vegetables added to it.  As well as numerous different stocks and/or liquids that can be added to cook the meat.

This has the same concept with the fresh mushrooms being braised slowly in a mushroom stock made from dried mushrooms that has an aroma to die for.  This particular recipe does also have chicken stock added in, however if you were wanting to omit that you could just up the amount of mushroom stock you use and leave out the chicken stock all together. 

Otherwise enjoy!  The only other thing to make this better would be fresh homemade pasta to serve this over.  Which we did do in my Pasta and Sauces class last night, but of course I missed out on getting a picture in time before it was all gone.  So your stuck with my home version I made with whole wheat linguine-still delicious.  But stay tuned, I have pasta dough I made earlier and left over Roasted Tomato Sauce from last night so I'm thinking that recipe sharing two yummy sauces is a good way to celebrate this hump day!

Wild Mushroom Ragu
4-6 serving

1 cup dried mushrooms (I usually grab the assorted mushroom medley, but porcini, shiitake or many of the others would work fine as well.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut in small dice
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms (porcini, shiitake, oyster, baby Portobello and/or cremini); trimmed, cleaned and cut into bite-sixed pieces)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp. thyme leaves
3 bay leaves

1.  Soak the porcini in 3 1/2 cup of hot water, until very soft, about 30 minutes.
2.  Coat a large wide saucepan generously with olive oil and bring to medium-high heat.  Add the onion and red pepper flakes and season with salt; cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until it starts to become aromatic.
3.  Add the fresh mushrooms, season with salt and sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the wine and continue cooking until reduced by half, roughly 5 minutes.
4.  Using a slotted spoon, scoop the mushrooms out of the soaking water (that has now become your mushrooms stock).  Be careful to try not to stir up the stock too much, much of the crummy stuff and dirt that was on the dried mushrooms that you don't want has settled on the bottom of your pan, try and leave that is undisturbed as possible.  Put the mushrooms in a food processor, ladle in about 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid (mushroom stock), and puree to a very smooth paste.
5.  Add the mushroom paste, 2 to 2 1/2 cups of the mushroom stock and 1 cup of the chicken stock to the pan; toss in the thyme and bay leaf.  Taste and season with salt if needed.  Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, adding more stock if needed; this sauce should be saucy but not soupy.  Remove the bay leaves before serving.