Image by Caroline West
“Mushrooms aren’t terribly exciting until they’ve had a few glugs of chicken stock and a glass of wine. Once the wine hits, they go from a nice, polite, back-drop kind of vegetable to a rich fungi with serious swag.
I know you’ve read this before, but it’s worth repeating, especially when it comes to mushrooms: Do Not Crowd The Pan. I know, it’s faster to dump the mushrooms in the pan all at once, but if you do, you’ll have pale, wimpy mushrooms steamed in their own juices.
If you’re patient and let the mushrooms take on colour, without poking and prodding them relentlessly, they’ll reward you with a rich brown base, or fond, which colours your pan and provides a great deal of flavour when rescued, or deglazed, with a good splash of wine.
You’ll enjoy these mushrooms with steak, omelettes, roasted chicken, pasta and just about everything else imaginable.
If you’re serving roasted or seared meat, be sure to add any pan juices to the mushrooms.
If you like mushrooms with a silky finish, adding a splash of whipping cream will add richness and a mellow je ne sais quois.“
1 lb crimini or button mushrooms, 6 generous cups, sliced or quartered
1/2 cup butter – plus more as needed
1/2 cup chopped shallots, about 3 small
1/2 cup red or white wine
3/4 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, or more to taste
1 – 2 Tbsp whipping cream, optional
Before you start, place a strainer over a bowl to drain any excess butter from your sautéed shallots and mushrooms.
In a medium saucepan, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter and sauté the shallots until soft and translucent, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Place the shallots in the strainer to drain them of excess butter, then place them in a clean bowl.
In the same saucepan in which the shallots were cooked, melt another tablespoon of butter and add only enough mushrooms to fit in the pan. Allow the mushrooms to take on a bit of colour before stirring them and turning them to brown on all sides.
When the mushrooms are golden brown, place them in the strainer, to drain them of excess butter. Then place them in the bowl with the shallots.
Remove the golden fond from the bottom of the saucepan with a splash of wine. Pour this into the bowl with the shallots and mushrooms.
Continue cooking the mushrooms in batches, deglazing the pan between each batch with a splash of wine.
When all the mushrooms have been cooked, return them ALL to the saucepan, along with the shallots. Now that they’ve browned, and lost some of their bulk, they don’t mind the over-crowding.
If you have any wine remaining, add it to the mushrooms and turn up the heat to high until the wine is all but evaporated.
Add the chicken stock and allow it to boil until it’s almost evaporated.
Season the mushrooms generously with Kosher salt, about 1/2 teaspoon. Add more or less depending on the seasoning of your chicken stock.
If you’re serving this with meat, add any pan drippings from the meat.
If you like creamy mushrooms, add a splash of whipping cream.