I love mushrooms. I can put away one of those little 8 ounce containers of white button mushrooms as a snack. Easy.
I mean, I don’t want to call myself a mushroom expert (and certainly not a mycologist), but let’s just say that I know my way around the grocery store mushrooms. Mushroom hunting in the wild, however? I’d probably die.
Marx Foods, a company that sells dried and fresh mushrooms of all varieties, among other things, asked for volunteers for a recipe contest, using dried morels. I’m always looking for ways to get the creative juices flowing, so I signed up right away.
They sent me dried morels. I brainstormed recipe ideas.
I brainstormed more.
I’ve participated in a dried morels recipe contest in the past and I stuffed them with “cheese”. Stuffing morels is a fairly common thing to do, but this challenge had special requirement – baking was to be the main method of cooking.
I had 2 ounces of dried mushrooms to work with and I didn’t want them to be hidden in the dish, because these bad boys are not cheap. To say that morels are a prized comodity is the understatement of the week.
This website alone should convince you, if you don’t believe me.
I finally decided on a baked vegetable casserole of sorts. A hot dish, since I’m from the midwest.
Mushrooms, and especially morels, have a pretty strong earthy flavor, and I wanted to make sure that flavor came through, but I also wanted to include a lot of vegetables into the hot dish.
I picked other vegetables that were also “earthy”. I mixed up some green sauce that was made with pureed peas, to add some natural sweetness and to cut some of that earthiness.
And since, apparently, you can’t make a hot dish without cheese, I threw in some vegan parmesan, too.
Morel and mixed vegetable casserole with Sweet pea-Parmesan Sauce
- 1 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 T vegan parmesan (or real parmesan)
- 1 T minced garlic
- 1/2 T lemon juice
- 2 T cornstarch
- 3/4 cup mushroom soaking water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-5 cups mixed chopped vegetables (I used carrots, yellow squash, onions, bell peppers, and kale, but use whatever you want or have on hand)
- 2 ounces dried morels, reconstituted.
Not only is this pretty, but the taste, if I do say so myself is pretty great.
If you aren’t huge on mushroom flavor, you can tame it down a bit by using water in place of the soaking liquid, but using the soaking liquid really makes the morel flavor stand out.
You can also sprinkle on more parmesan during the last 15 minutes of baking or add more on your plate. I recommend this. I did.
Have you ever gone mushroom hunting? Have you had morels?