Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Essence of Mushrooms - January 25, 2014

On October 12, 2013 I blogged about preserving beautiful Shiitake mushrooms we grew in the community garden.  We preserved them in jars in olive oil and sat on the shelf.  I decided it was time to take advantage of them a couple weeks ago when it was time for pizza night.  We have a fabulous pasta place in town where we buy all our pasta fresh as well as pizza dough.  I also had a jar of pizza sauce and some banana peppers canned in the summer and my husband thinks pizza must have pepperoni so we bought that too.  The pizza with was delicious, but I think the best part of the meal was the salad.  We used the oil from the mushroom jar with a few mushrooms and mixed with rice wine vinegar and a bit of sugar to make the dressing.  It had all the flavor of the mushrooms, peppers and herb from the canning.

I didn't want to waste the rest of the mushrooms, so the next day I made a pot of lentils and added the remaining mushrooms.  It was earthy and rich and hearty and made great lunches for the week. Here is what I did:

Lentil Stew with Mushrooms and Spinach

1 chopped onion
4 diced carrots
1 T. olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. basil
14.5 ounces crushed or chopped tomatoes
2 c. dry lentils (I used the French green ones, but brown or Indian also work)
1/2 c. chopped preserved mushrooms
8 c. water (using the water from the tomato cans or broth if you like)
1 small bag frozen sinach
2 T. lemon juice (or vinegar)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil on medium and saute onions and carrots.  Stir in garlic and herbs.  Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in lentils, water, tomatoes and mushrooms.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.  Add spinach and cook until warmed.  When ready to serve, stir in lemon and season to taste.

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