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Duck Breast and Wild Mushroom Chili, con frijoles April 18, 2009

Posted by pcorcoran in Duck, Entree, Mushrooms, Recipe, Soup.
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Breasts from 4 Pekin ducks, boneless and skinless
3-1/2 lbs. tomatoes, chopped
1 lb. yellow onion, coarsely chopped
12 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. Gebhardt chili powder
3 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground sumac
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. sesame oil

12 oz. fresh wild mushrooms *
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. cumin seed
1/2 tsp. coriander seed
1/4 tsp. dried thyme

1 lb. dried pinto beans
2 dried California chiles, shredded
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 habanero pepper
2 qt. chicken stock
5 tbsp. sherry vinegar
juice of 2 limes
2 cups Italian parsley, coarse chop
salt

Duck Prep:
Dice the duck breasts.  Heat sesame oil in large stock pot on medium-high heat.  Add duck and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.  Add onions and garlic, cook for another 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, oregano, sumac, onion powder and garlic powder.  Stir, reduce heat to medium, cover.  Stir every few minutes and prepare mushrooms.

Mushroom Prep:
Clean and chop the mushrooms.  In a small skillet, toast cumin seed and coriander seed over medium flame until displaying first signs of smoking.  Remove from heat, let cool for a minute.  Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle, and set aside.

Melt butter over medium-high heat in large skillet.  Add chopped mushrooms; add dried thyme and toasted spice mix.  Cook mushrooms until they have released most of their moisture, about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat; add mushrooms to duck and tomato mixture.

Chili:
Add chicken stock and 2 cups water to main stock pot.  Bring to a boil at maximum heat, stirring often.  Once boiling, add dried beans, dried chiles, black peppercorns, bay leaf, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons vinegar.  Add one cup parsley.  Mix.

Reduce heat to medium for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  For spicy chili, chop habanero pepper finely and add to stock pot.  For a milder chili, place the whole habanero pepper in a tea ball or cloth spice sack.

Reduce to very low heat, cover chili pot, and let cook for 8 hours.  Keep covered.  Stir thoroughly every 30-60 minutes.  Add water as needed if chili becomes too dry.

After 8 hours, remove the bay leaf from the chili.  Remove the habanero pepper if steeping in a tea ball, squeezing the juices back into chili and stirring well.  Salt the chili to taste.

Remove chili from heat and let cool to room temperature for a few hours or overnight.  (It’s ok to let it stand covered overnight at normal room temperatures.)

Before serving, bring chili back to a boil and stir in remaining cup chopped parlsey.  Enjoy.

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* For mushrooms, I used a combination of Hen of the Woods, King Oyster, and White Beech.  The White Beech retained their shape through the entire cook, so if you like seeing cute little mushrooms in your chili, this might be for you.  The other two varieties disappearing into the mix and therefore probably added more to the overall flavor.

Risotto with Morels and Asparagus June 28, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Entree, Mushrooms, Recipe, Risotto, Veggies.
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2 cups dried arborio rice (risotto)
1/2 lb. fresh morel mushrooms
1/2 lb. asparagus
5 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups boiling water
4 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup grated Reggiano

Pour boiling water over morels and stir gently.  Set mushrooms and liquid aside covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove mushrooms from liquid broth with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid.  Pat mushrooms dry, chop into quarters lengthwise, and set aside.  Remove grit and solids from the broth, straining through a cheesecloth if necessary.  Set broth aside.

While mushrooms are soaking, cut asparagus in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/2 inch pieces on the diagonal.  Bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Blanche asparagus in boiling water for 4 minutes.  Drain.  Run cold water over asparagus until cool to the touch and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy stock pot over high heat.  When foam subsides, add shallot and thyme.  Saute for several minutes.  Chop finely 1 clove of garlic.  Add morels and chopped garlic, and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add asparagus and mix well.  Transfer contents of stock pot to a bowl and set aside, covered.

Deglaze stock pot with 1/2 cup white wine.  Add mushroom stock to pot and bring to a boil.  Add vegetable stock and 2 cloves coarsely sliced garlic.  Bring liquid to a boil, reduce to a simmer and keep covered.

Heat olive oil in a 5-quart heavy pot over high heat.  Add arborio rice and stir well.  Add 1/2 cup white wine and stir until absorbed.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add 1 cup stock and stir until absorbed.  Cover.  Add another cup of broth every minute or two, stirring to ensure an even coating, then replace cover.  Repeat until risotto is tender and creamy, about 20 to 25 minutes.  (Some broth may be left over.)

Melt 2 tablespoons in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add mushroom and asparagus mixture and heat it just until it bubbles slightly.  Pour mixture into risotto and mix well.  Stir in Reggiano cheese and serve immediately.

Time to Prepare: 90 minutes

Difficulty: 4/10

Serves: 6 to 8 people

Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with Soft Herbs, Pecorino and Hazelnuts March 31, 2008

Posted by pcorcoran in Mushrooms, Recipe, Salad, Side Dish.
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2 lbs. wild mushrooms, cleaned
6 ozs. mixed salad of dandelion greens and watercress
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely crushed
2 tbsp. finely diced shallots
3 tbsp. sherry vinegar
9 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup chervil sprigs
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chives, chopped to 1/2-inch pieces
Shaved Pecorino di Grotta (or Romano)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry skillet on medium for a few minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Remove brown skins and crush hazelnuts coarsely.  Set aside.

Place diced shallots, sherry vinegar, and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl, and set aside for 5 mins.  Whisk in 5 tbsp. olive oil and set aside.

Clean and trim mushrooms.  Tear larger mushrooms into bite-sized pieces, 1-1/2 to 2 inches.

Heat a large skillet over high heat for 2 mins.  Add 2 tbsp. olive oil and heat for another minute.  Melt in 1 tbsp. butter and add half of the mushrooms to the skillet.  Season mushrooms with 1 tsp. thyme, 3/4 tsp. salt, and a few twists of ground pepper.  Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender.  (Cooking time will vary with the types of mushrooms.)  Transfer cooked mushrooms to a bowl, and repeat cooking process with the remaining half of the mushrooms.

Meanwhile, place the greens and herbs in a large mixing bowl.

When the second batch of mushrooms is finished, add the first batch back into the skillet.  Add the vinaigrette to the skillet and warm with mushrooms for a minute or two.  When mixture is hot, pour mushrooms and dressing over the greens and herbs and mix.  Add 1/4 tsp. salt and ground pepper to taste.

Using tongs, arrange salad mixture on plates.  Sprinkle hazelnuts and pecorino over each salad plate.  Serve immediately.

Time to prepare: 30 to 45 minutes

Difficulty: 3/10

Serves: 4

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This is not a difficult dish to prepare.  Most of the time is spent grooming the herbs, washing the greens, and cleaning the mushrooms.  Once cooking begins the salad in finished in under 15 minutes.

To help time this dish with others, the mushrooms can be cooked up to 4 hours in advance.  Re-heat mushrooms just before serving, stirring in the vinaigrette until hot, as described above.

Braised Chicken with Wild Mushrooms March 25, 2007

Posted by pcorcoran in Braising, Chicken, Entree, Mushrooms, Recipe.
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6 large whole chicken legs
zest of one lemon
3 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley
4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, chopped (white and pale green parts only)
1 cup wild mushrooms1
2 bay leaves
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dry Sherry
1 qt. low sodium chicken broth

Put chicken pieces in a large bowl with lemon zest, thyme, and chopped parsley. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Remove chicken from refrigerator. Sprinkle with salt and freshly grated black pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes, until room temperature. Preheat oven to 325° F degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large skiller over medium-high heat. Add 3 chicken pieces, skin side down, and sear for five minutes. Turn chicken over, reduce heat to medium, and cook for another two minutes. Remove chicken and place it in a large broiling pan or pot. Repeat process for the other 3 pieces of chicken.

Spoon half the drippings from the skillet and discard. Add onion, leeks, mushrooms, and bay leaves to skillet. Saute over medium heat until onions are golden, about 7 minutes. Add wine and sherry. Increase skillet to high heat, and boil liquid until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add a handful of fresh parsley sprigs.

Pour vegetables and liquid over the chicken in the braising pot. Cover the pot with aluminum foil, and place the lid over the aluminum foil, to seal as tightly as possible. Cook at 325° F until chicken is very tender, about 90 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 400° F. Add 1 millimeter of chicken liquid to a large flat baking dish. Transfer chicken pieces skin side up. Strain mushroom and vegetable solids from chicken liquid, surrounding the chicken legs with them in baking dish. Roast in oven until brown, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer remaining chicken liquid into a medium saucepan. Boil liquid gently to reduce, about 15 minutes or until thickened slightly. Optionally add 1 or 2 tbsp. butter if it looks like it needs more essence. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve whole chicken legs with reduced juices spooned over, accompanied by browned mushrooms and vegetables.

Time to Prepare: 4 hours marinating + 3 hours total cooking time (90 minutes baking).

Level of Difficulty: 6/10

Serves: 4 to 6

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1 Any type of wild mushrooms can be used, dried or fresh. Morels are nice, as are Yellow Foot Chanterelles. It is best to use whole mushrooms, so don’t use anything too large.

This dish is more work than I would ever commit to on a weekday. But as a special-occasion chicken it’s a winner.

The browning at the beginning is crucial. I have skipped the marinating step without disastrous results, but it’s really better if you can commit to it.