Archive for January, 2015

Magnificent Mushrooms: Behind the Scenes with a Mushroom Farmer

Mushrooms are truly a magnificent piece of nature, and their growing process is more scientific and interesting than one might thing. Follow along as Council Representative, Kathleen Preis, talks to a local mushroom farmer about the fascinating world of growing mushrooms.

It’s a cold winter day here in Pennsylvania, and even with snow banks reaching up to my knees, local mushrooms are being grown and harvested today. Mushrooms are one of the only items in the produce section that are grown every single day of the year, and it’s an amazing process to learn about. Lucky for me, I am right in the heart of mushroom growing country (Kennett Square, PA), with access to dozens of family farms that grow over 60% of the US’ fresh mushrooms.

Kathleen: What exactly is a mushroom?
Mushroom Farmer: Mushrooms are fungi, which are so distinct in nature they are classified as their own kingdom – separate from plants or animals. There are thousands of fungi in the world, but only a few are edible. Most mushrooms you find in your local supermarket are grown indoors, on a mushroom farm.

Kathleen: Tell me about the mushroom growing process.
Mushroom Farmer: Mushrooms are our most unique growing vegetable, and mushroom growing is one of the most unusual stories in agriculture. Before they make their way to your plate, mushrooms go through a growing process in a highly controlled environment unlike that of any other produce.

Kathleen: Are mushrooms good for you?
Mushroom Farmer: Up until a decade ago, most believed mushrooms were consumed only for their flavor, and didn’t contribute anything nutritional. However, as we invest in more nutrition research we find mushrooms have a great nutrition story to tell! Mushrooms provide many of the nutritional attributes of produce, as well as attribute more commonly found in meat, beans or grains. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium (8%), riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more.

Kathleen: What’s your favorite mushroom recipe?
Mushroom Farmer: While I enjoy complex mushroom dishes like this Portabella Mushroom Burger With Crispy Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic Gorgonzola Sauce, my family and I cannot resist classic comfort foods like meatballs, tacos, and spaghetti. My current favorite is the Mushroom & Turkey Meatloaf. The mushrooms blend seamlessly with the turkey, and add moisture!

 

Mushroom Marsala Chicken Pot Pie

Paula of bell’amimento gives us a delicious meal, Mushroom Marsala Chicken Pot Pie, to warm you up from the brisk cold.

Oh baby it’s cold outside! In my neck of the east coast woods it most definitely is. Cold to me means (well besides boots and seriously soft sweaters) comfort food is cooking in my kitchen at all times. I’ve always been a fan of our family’s chicken Marsala pot pie recipe. It warms me from tip to toe and is what I crave when the temperature drops and of course when I’m under the weather.

I’m not sure why before this month I never thought to add SHROOMS to our pot pie party. After all, mushrooms and Marsala go together like sha na na na na (you get the picture). Well let’s just say that this pot pie was pretty awesome before but after the addition of shrooms it’s kinda extraordinary.

We like to use leftover roasted chicken (hello take two meals) to make ours but if you can always roast one specifically for this or pick up one from your favorite market. Pie crust or puff pastry tops this off. Go with what you like!

Mushroom Marsala Chicken Pot Pie
Paula Jones – bell’alimento
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion – minced
  • 1 medium potato – peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery – diced
  • 3 carrots – peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 8 ounces baby portobella mushrooms – quartered
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/4 cup Marsala
  • 2-3 cups roasted herb chicken diced
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup frozen English peas
  • 1 pie crust – thawed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt butter in a french oven over medium-high heat. Add: onion, potato, celery, carrots, garlic and mushrooms. Season with nutmeg and salt/pepper. Cook for approximately 10 minutes OR until vegetables are softened. Stirring as necessary.
  3. Add Marsala and deglaze pan. Add chicken. Sprinkle flour on top. Stir to coat. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Add cream and peas and stir to combine. Check for seasoning. Adjust as necessary. Transfer mixture to one large oven proof dish or several smaller oven proof ramekins.
  5. Place pie crust across top of dish /dishes. Crimp edges.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes OR until crust is flaky and golden.