Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Spiced Wine Caps (and a side of Pork Chops)

by Mary Ellen Kozak

Just two of these clusters is all you need for this recipe!

Wine Cap Mushrooms are one of the milder flavored mushrooms you can grow, but the crunchy texture and adorable red button caps add to the charm and flavor-likeness of sweet peas and asparagus.

Normally, you would look for clean, simple recipes with bright flavors to bring out the culinary characteristics of this mushroom. If you are looking at this blog right now though, you may be already looking for other ways to use this mushroom because when the crop is on, the baskets fill up fast!

This recipe is unusually spiced. Where many side dish recipes for mushrooms include butter, cream, sherry, and thyme or tarragon, this recipe opens the spice cabinet to cardamom, mint, nutmeg and anise. After cooking, freeze it in cupfuls to herald the traditional flavors of fall, but leave some out to dress up a summer cooked pork chop. The flavors deepen as it sits, so don't be in a hurry to use it the minute you make it.

This recipe is adapted from naturalist Steve Brill's website, Wildmanstevebrill.com, who had the misfortune of being arrested for eating a dandelion in Central Park back in the '80's. The publicity for the arrest did not necessarily bring us his mushroom recipes, but it's still a good story :)

Buttons are best for this recipe, but since the finished dish is dark in color, mature mushrooms work just fine.

Spiced Wine Caps (and Pork Chops)

4 c. sliced Wine Cap mushrooms (include the sliced tender stems, if applicable)
2 tsp. oil
1 T. chopped mint leaves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cardamon
½ tsp. ground anise seed
½ tsp. coarse salt (or more to taste)
1-2 T. red wine or sherry

2 pork chops
Sour cream

Mushrooms: Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the mushrooms, salt and spices.

Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and have released any liquid. Continue cooking until pan is nearly dry, then add the wine. You may want to add a little extra wine if the mushrooms are sticking to the pan.

Continue cooking, stirring often, until the liquid is nearly gone. Remove from heat.

Pork Chops: The pork chops can be grilled or pan fried. To pan fry, melt a combination of butter and oil and pan fry over a medium high heat, both sides, about 10-15 minutes total. Plate and serve with a topping of spiced mushrooms and a dollop of sour cream. Add a side of corn meal muffins for a German/American twist.