The other night, two chefs were in competition to see which would then run around a grocery like a crazed person. Ok, it was the Food Network, and the show was Guy's Grocery Games."
I am not terribly fond of cooking competition shows.....with the exception of the original Iron Chef. Those "Culinary Men of Iron" were serious! The show was filmed in Japan and aired in the US with dubbed over commentary that was probably not meant to be as hilarious as it was. *By the way, none of the original Iron Chef shows are available on DVD....can someone do something about that??
IMHO, a major flaw in current food competition shows is that they feature lame "smack talk" comments from a panel of judges. For example, "Beat Bobby Flay (who, incidentally, was 0/3 in New Orleans during his "Throwdown" era)," features a panel of three who, during the competition, are rooting against Flay, with forced sounding dialogue and contrived, juvenile distraction.
What DID interest me in the show I saw the other night was that in the initial challenge, a lamb centered take on Beef Wellington, the competitors used out of the ordinary mushrooms: lion's mane, oyster, shiitake. I know these things exist but I have never fooled with them myself.
Duxelles is a velvety, rich mushroom preparation, a signature part of Beef Wellington (and I know this only because they said so), and I suddenly wanted some sauteed mushrooms. I ran out to our local grocers to find some, with no husband to complain, "You're going where? It's 8pm!!"
Well, I was completely out of luck. None of our grocery stores, including two fancy "hipster" grocers, had anything but normal white, portobello, and crimini. Shocking (I have since learned the place to go is a local farmer's market).
Ok. I already had a taste for mushrooms, so I was not going home empty handed! I bought some crimini (fun fact: crimini mushrooms, AKA "Baby Bellas" actually are young portobellos!), shallots, and fresh thyme.
Mushrooms are grown in dirt so they have to be cleaned, but they are porous creatures so you are not supposed to wash them in water. Instead, wipe them with a damp paper towel.
I am not a fan of stems in food because I find them to be fibrous and tough. With mushrooms, I cut the stem off flush with the cap. With thyme, I strip the leaves, discard the stem, and mince.
8 oz. diced mushrooms looks like a mountain but will reduce down to yield about one cup.
8 oz. Fresh mushrooms, any sort, wiped clean and diced (I used crimini)
2 tbsp minced shallot
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Splash of white wine (I had pinot grigio on hand)
In a medium pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter. Allow the butter to just begin to color slightly. Add the mushrooms, shallot, and thyme. Brown the mushrooms, stirring frequently. Add the wine and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. Salt and pepper to taste. I finished it with some chopped fresh parsley.
Quick and easy, and not only for Beef Wellington (one of these days I will make some)! This a terrific appetizer with crackers or toasted baguette slices, or as an omelet filling, or stuffing. It can be made vegan by omitting the butter and substituting olive oil.