We grow a lot of food here on Putney Farm, but we do not forage for mushrooms (yet). Happily, Carolyn’s parents forage regular batches of chanterelles on their property. If the weather is right, here come the chanterelles. And they are good, real good. Chanterelles are rich, sweet and have that beautiful yellow/gold color. Carolyn’s folks like to share and we are happy to return the favor with a family meal. Nanna and Poppa get to hang with the kids (and us) and we cook for them, a good deal all around. Usually we get chanterelles during the holidays, but with the mild winter we got a surprise delivery.
Usually we have chanterelles with pasta or in a kick-ass stuffing for big meals (recipe soon). For this meal we had a challenge, the kids wanted tacos and we already had some skirt steak. Being lucky enough to cook with the chanterelles on a semi-regular basis, we have a good feel for the taste of the mushrooms. We decided to see if we could make chanterelle tacos along with the beef tacos. Enter Rick Bayless, our man.
Bayless? Really? Yes. As it turns out, in Mexico they really like their fungus. From huitlacoche to basic brown mushrooms there are plenty of Mexican mushroom recipes and the flavors are a great fit. Bayless has a good stewed mushroom recipe featuring all the ingredients you would expect; mushroom, onion, tomato, chilies, garlic, lime (and pork fat). We adjusted chilies and garlic down slightly to accentuate the sweetness of the to chanterelles and used bacon fat (from our home-cured bacon) to add extra flavor. The recipe was a great success and the chanterelles were easily meaty enough to be their own taco filling.
Since we also had skirt steak on hand, we adapted Bayless’ carne asada recipe for indoor cooking in a cast iron skillet (see below). Easy, and very tasty. We now had mushroom and/or steak tacos. We serve our tacos with a corn and flour tortillas, quick guacamole (mash 1 avocado, juice of ½ lime, pinch salt), queso fresco, cheddar, salsa, sour cream and cabbage or bitter greens.
For the kids, these were a few good tacos. For the adults, the chanterelles and the company made it a bit more.
(adapted from Rick Bayless)
Notes before you start:
- Buy chanterelles (or any wild mushroom) form a known source or forage with someone you trust. Nobody likes a bad mushroom.
- You can substitute any mushroom for this recipe but consider a bit more garlic and chiles if using “meatier” mushrooms.
What you get: About 1.5 cups of sweet, tasty mushroom taco filling. Vegetarian tacos, if you avoid the bacon fat. A pleasant surprise in the match of chanterelle mushrooms to Mexican flavors.
What you need: No special equipment required. Food processor or immersion blender will be helpful. Depending on the source, you will need to spend a few minutes cleaning the mushrooms.
How long? 30 minutes. 5 minutes to clean the mushrooms. Approx. 20-25 minutes to cook. This can easily be a weekday dish.
- 12 ounces of chanterelles or other mushrooms. Wash and roughly chop into ½ inch pieces
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 1 Jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded, white stuff removed, minced
- 2/3 cup chicken stock or lightly salted water
- ½ lime, juiced
- 1 Tablespoon bacon fat (other pork fat) or olive oil
- 1 large tomato cored and diced , or ½ 15 oz can of tomatoes, drained and diced (go fresh if you can)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- Salt to taste
- In a medium size saucepan, place mushrooms, onion, chile, broth, lime juice and bacon fat (or oil). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover for 3-5 minutes. Uncover and cook until all liquid has cooked-off and the mushrooms start to fry. They are frying if you hear a nice sizzle.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, puree the tomato and garlic in a food processor or using an immersion blender. Once the mushrooms start to fry, add the tomato / garlic mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes or until thickened. Season to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Skirt Steak Carne Asada (bonus recipe):
(adapted from Rick Bayless)
Notes before you start:
- Use whatever fast-cooking beef (flank, hanger) you are using for tacos if you do not have shirt steak.
What you get: Tasty, traditionally-flavored “Mexican” steak to serve in tacos or as a main dish.
What you need: No special equipment required. Food processor or immersion blender will help.
How Long? 5 minutes prep. 30-60 minutes to marinate beef. 10 minutes cook. 10 minutes rest. You can cut the marinade time short if needed. This can also be a weekday dish if you shorten marinating time.
(meat filling for about 8-12 tacos)
- 2 lbs. skirt steak, cut into 4-5 inch segments
- 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings or olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed
- Juice of ½ lime
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- In ungreased skillet with medium heat, roast the unpeeled garlic and jalapeno. Turn frequently and remove from heat when blackened / blistered. 5-10 minutes.
- Let the garlic cool- then peel.
- Process lime juice, oil, jalapeno and garlic in food processor or with immersion blender. Process until a smooth puree.
- Coat the skirt steak with the mixture. Marinate in fridge for ½ to 1 hour (a full hour is better).
- Place a heavy skillet under medium-high heat on the stove- bring up to heat before adding the steak. Add 3-4 pieces of the steak (do not crowd the pan, cook in batches if necessary). Season the steaks with salt. Cook 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. (or use your meat thermometer and pull the steaks when 8-10 degrees below desired temperature- they will cook while they rest).
- Place steaks on a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Slice thinly against the grain of meat. Serve in tacos or as a main dish.