I believe I have talked about the importance of mushroom sauce in my life before here on the blog.
In fact, when we visited my grandma last weekend I showed my husband Brani the farm where I used to go with grandad to pick up a bag of mushrooms for lunch.
Picking up mushrooms was really code for two old-ish men chatting for an hour, but with the added benefit of homemade spätzle with mushroom sauce in front of me roughly two hours later.
I knew this neighbour’s farm. I was scared of his dog. I was also terrified of his goose. But I didn’t have the faintest idea where he was growing all of these delicious mushrooms!
It probably took five months until I dared asking grandpa. “In the basement”, he said. “They like it dark and cool and a bit damp.”
And that has been my knowledge re: mushroom farming ever since.
But. Get this: Did you know you can buy these small mushroom growing kits in cardboard boxes?
I am so intrigued by this. I’ve been intrigued by growing everything lately. My inner farm girl is growing stronger every day.
Watch this space. I might just start bombarding you with organic gardening.
No matter my current obsession with filling my yard with strawberry plants instead of flowers this spring, this sauce is a very delicious thing you can make with mushrooms.
It’s also incredibly easy to make and highly customisable:
- use oil or use butter to cook some chopped onion and garlic – your call!
- use wine or stock to deglaze the pan after browning the mushrooms
- use vegetable stock or homemade chicken bone broth – I will say that homemade chicken broth gives a richer result, but veggie works just as well
- finish the sauce with nut butter, cream or real butter once the liquid has reduced by half – each slightly thickens the sauce and adds some richness and creaminess
This all gives you options depending on your diet, your preferences or what you have on hand right now!
Now you might be wondering… Hasn’t she gone on about plant-based eating for many a moons now?
Well, yes. I have. Hm, hm. Butter and chicken stock are decidedly not plants.
I have also said I’m not looking back. And that I’m feeling great. And I’ve said so incredibly recently.
But life rarely works in a linear way. In fact, it’s pretty zig-zag in my experience.
I want to share a little more about my thoughts and some beliefs I’ve had to let go of the last couple of days. Some of which were really hard for me to face, but I’ll talk about that another day.
Bottom line, five weeks ago I dedicated my life to feeling well again – physically and mentally. And as much as it burdens me to say this, despite all my precautions and warnings to myself, both my mental and physical wellness have started deteriorating again.
I am 100% pro planet-friendly, animal-friendly, human-friendly living. I’m also 100% pro cooking from scratch with well-grown, mostly local and seasonal ingredients.
But considering my issues with disordered eating coupled with my capacity for reading peer-reviewed studies at lightning speed, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to mentally sustain a diet that cuts out entire food groups, one that makes questionable health claims – or one that advocates eating chia pudding for breakfast daily when flax grows right in front of our doorsteps.
Not to say that any of these have to relate to each other, but it’s where I was headed and I had to come to a screeching halt to keep myself from going down the rabbit hole.
At the end of the day, the bottom line for me has to be this: It’s all about making mindful choices, learning to grow what we need (or at least part of it) ourselves, and realising that you can’t raise and kill 20 chicken breasts in your backyard every week.
Hint, hint: You can only raise entire chickens. Like whoa!
My grandma who used to make the most important mushroom sauce had chickens in her backyard for most of her life. And gosh, did she love them.
I’m almost certain her chickens always ate better than gran herself. They had plenty of space to just be chickens, every single day.
Grandma kept some eggs, sold some, and when the chickens grew old and tired she would give them to a less-well-off family in the village who would care for them a bit longer and eventually butcher them for soup. That’s what sustainability and self-sufficiency mean to me.
Also, I really want to grow mushrooms in my basement. Shhh, don’t tell my husband!
Maybe I’ll get him one of those mushroom cardboard box kits for Christmas just to get him hooked – you know, make him believe it was his idea 😉
- 1 tablespoon butter OR oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Handful thyme sprigs
- 1 pound brown button mushrooms quartered
- 1/2 cup white wine OR extra stock
- 2 cups vegetable stock OR chicken stock homemade preferred
- 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt + pepper
- 1-2 heaping tablespoons cold butter cream OR any nut butter you like
- Sauté the aromatics: Heat the butter or oil in a deep and wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they're soft and slightly caramelised, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme.
- Cook the mushrooms: Add the mushrooms to the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Don't be tempted to stir too often, let the mushrooms brown a bit. After about 5 minutes, they will start releasing some moisture. Be patient and wait for this moment (decrease the heat a bit if they get to dark in the meantime). Once they have released their juices, wait for them to reduce until the pan is almost dry again.
- Deglaze the pan: Increase the heat to high. Wait until the pan sizzles, then pour the wine or extra stock over the mushrooms, scratching the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until almost all of the wine has evaporated.
- Cook the sauce: Stir in the stock, soy sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce until it has reduced by half.
- Finish: Take the sauce off the heat and stir in your choice of butter, cream or nut butter. Serve immediately.
* I make a commission for purchases made through these links.