January 17, 2013

Mount Tam & Wild Mushrooms


The wonderful folks at Juniper Ridge extended an invitation for a weekend trip to Mount Tamalpais. There was talk of hiking and mushroom foraging, drinking and cabins.

Hall lead the way on our hike to the West Point Inn, moody fog made the forest look otherworldly. It was completely dark by the time we made it to the inn, my clothes soaked from sweat and the misty rain. But oh man, was that inn a sight for sore eyes.  A big roaring fire, hot spiked cider, and a killer clawfoot tub to soak in after a long hike. Also a great group of people to be with.




It was my first time mushroom foraging, and I can get into this. Like a treasure hunt, and so easy to find yourself climbing up a steep slope, digging through damp leaves, or crossing through a creek bed at the promise of a beautiful mushroom to eat.  We were fortunate to have a new variety to eat each night.



Chicken thighs braised in wine & herbs with 
Sautéed Mushrooms & Savoy Cabbage 
two servings

For this recipe, I used hedgehog mushrooms. Soft, delicate mushrooms are ideal for this, like a chanterelle. 


For the Chicken

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • dry white wine
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, diced 
  • 1 small shallot, diced
Pour about a 1/2 cup of flour on a plate. Season the chicken thighs with salt & pepper on both sides, then coat with flour on each side, tapping off any excess. Set aside the chicken. Heat a skillet, ideally cast iron, to medium high heat. Add the butter, and when foaming, place the chicken thighs skin side down- be sure not to crowd the pan, or else work in batches. After about 8 minutes, flip it to the other side, the skin should not stick to the pan when it is finished browning. Brown the other side for about 5 or 6 minutes, or until nice and golden. Remove the chicken from the pan for a moment, and add the garlic and shallot (and more butter if needed), sauté for a minute or two, then return the thighs to the pan- skin side up. Add 1 1/2 cup of white wine and the thyme (about half of the chicken should be submerged in the liquid), lower the heat to low and cook for 30-40 minutes. Check the chicken by making a small cut, the juice should run clear, not pink when done. 

For the Mushrooms
  •  Roughly 2 cups hedgehog mushrooms
  • 2 cups savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
  • butter
  • salt & pepper
  • thyme
  • pomegranate seeds
Clean the mushrooms first: I remove any dirt gentle with a dry, clean towel. Really stubborn dirt, a quick rinse. Do not soak in water- they will absorb the water, which won't let them sauté properly or take on any flavors of the dish. Heat a pan or skillet to medium heat. Add tbsp. butter, and when foaming, add the mushrooms. Gently stir the mushrooms for a minute or two to brown, then add the cabbage. Season with salt and pepper and a bit of fresh thyme leaves. Add another tbsp. of butter if it needs, stirring occasionally. Cook about 10-12 minutes total. 

Plate the mushrooms and cabbage, chicken thigh with a bit of the wine sauce, and garnish with pomegranate seeds. 





-A


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