Well, Fall has hit us with a vengeance and I’ve been on a “comfort food” kick. Warm, hearty, filling dishes – and we’re still on our winter squash kick. I’m working on a savory version of the butternut squash souffle with chipotle peppers, roasted red bell peppers, onions and cheese and will post it as soon as I’ve got the proportions of the ingredients just right.
Oh, as an aside and sort of a follow-up on my HFCS post last Friday – canned red kidney beans contain sugar/corn syrup/soybean oil, depending on the brand. Fortunately, the organic store brand was just soaked beans (soaking is important, as it releases a lot of the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients from legumes), water and salt. Why was I buying canned beans? I was making chili, and the beans in my pantry were apparently old and did not take well to the “quick soak” method (boiling them for 2 minutes and letting them sit for an hour); every last one of them split wide open and became mushy.
Anyhoo. Comfort food. We got a ton of roasts when we purchased Chuck (including a standing rib roast destined to be Christmas dinner). I reserve the tougher cuts – chuck, blade and arm roasts – for stews or chili (just cut them into 1″ to 2″ cubes) or just throw them in the crock pot with some onion, garlic, seasonings and a little water. Cook it on low for 8 – 10 hours and you’ve practically got dinner on the table. I used to do a nice pan gravy with this, but since we’ve cut out grains we’ve just been dressing our beef roasts with a little steak sauce or low-sugar ketchup. I wanted to do something with a little more flavor with the last roast, so I made this.
And it is GOOD. I’m one of those that can take mushrooms or leave them – I prefer them raw, to be honest – and even I thought this was great. Beloved, who loves mushrooms in any way, shape, form or fashion informed me that I can’t serve him roast any other way now. This would be excellent over a good steak, and since it has a “marsala-ish” quality, would be pretty darn good over chicken or pasta, too.
Note: You can use bourbon, Kentucky or Irish whiskey, but since “whisky” in our house means single malt scotch, that’s what I used. A good dry white wine would also work well.
Whisky Mushroom Cream Sauce
4 – 6 servings
2-3 cups sliced fresh white button mushrooms
1/2 medium yellow onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons whiskey, scotch, bourbon, or dry white wine
1/2 to 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon finely minced chives (optional)
Melt about 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to foam, add about 1/4 of the mushrooms to the pan. Do NOT crowd them; you want to brown the mushrooms – they will release liquid into the pan and will not brown if there are too many. Cook the mushrooms in batches until the liquid they release evaporates and they are golden brown. Add a little butter with each batch, if necessary. Remove each batch as done to a plate and set aside.
Lower the heat and add a little more butter to the pan; when it begins to foam add the onions and saute until the onions are soft and translucent, but not brown. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Increase the heat back to medium-high and add the mushrooms back to the pan, tossing to combine them well with the onion/garlic mixture.
Add the whiskey and balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the mixture to bubble and reduce slightly. Lower the heat slightly and add the cream and nutmeg; cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. Remove from heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in chives, if using, and serve immediately.