Friday, November 6, 2009
Wild Mushroom Ragu
Mushroom Ragu - made and served by Culinary Arts students at Lane County Community College
Each year culinary art students from Lane County College volunteer to serve food at the Mt. Pisca Mushroom Festival. In addition to events like this, you'll also find them manning stations at the school's Omelet Bar and Renaissance Room Restaurant. You can get a wonderful, made to order, omelet for $4, and a three course dinner that's served in a remarkably professional environment for under $10 a person. The menu is quite varied and is changed seasonally. Last time we were at the college, I had grilled buffalo and it was terrific. At this year's festival the students served mushroom ragu in phyllo cups. It was not an easy feat given the large number of people queuing to sample their mushroom special. Mushroom ragu is one of those versatile, neglected dishes that we should see more often than we do. It can be served over baked potatoes or rice. It can also be served in phyllo cups, taco bowls or puff pastry. My favorite way to serve it is over a mamaliga that been made with cheese. A well-made ragu is a kitchen triumph and it's quick and easy to do. It is, unfortunately, no bargain. Wild mushrooms and good wine are expensive, but I promise those of you who make the ragu a real taste treat. Here's the recipe.
Wild Mushroom Ragu...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
2 tablespoons butter
4 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, chanterelle and button)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine or white French vermouth
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1) Melt butter with oil in a large deep skillet set over medium heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes.
2) Add onion and garlic; cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes more, or until mushrooms are a deep brown.
3) Add wine and cook until evaporated.
4) Stir in stock, tarragon and thyme. Return to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch in cream. Stir into ragu and cook until slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Yield: 8 servings.