Guest Post: Mushroom Pork Chili Verde Polenta Bowls by The Yum Yum Factor

We have a guest in the kitchen! Carole of The Yum Yum Factor is back, treating us to a gloriously versatile dish. She always brings fun flavours to the table and these bowls are no different.

I am always happy to be back at work, cooking up something tasty for Mushrooms Canada in my Yum Yum Factor kitchen. This polenta bowl is not only the perfect weekend brunch treat, but it makes a really filling weeknight dinner too, especially if you make the chili verde ahead of time.


This dish is inspired by something that I always eat for brunch at one of our favourite Toronto restaurants, The Wren. I am the weirdo who doesn't like to eat sweet things or other typical brunchy foods and will take something savoury and spicy over french toast instead, any day. It is also another excuse to use my electric pressure cooker, which allows me to make a stew that would usually take a couple of hours in half the time. Electric pressure cookers are all the rage right now, and for good reason because these things are almost as easy to use as a slow cooker and, unlike your grandmother's terrifying, hissing time bomb, they are totally safe.


Besides the fact that, on the stove, chili verde is time consuming , it's usually made with a big, old pork butt or pork shoulder so it's very rich and fatty - not something we want to be eating all that often. Okay, I would like to eat it more often but maybe my arteries would not and I think it's wise to be kind to our arteries. By replacing half the pork with mushrooms, you are making it so much healthier without sacrificing anything in the way of flavour or texture. This recipe makes more chili verde than you will use for the polenta bowls but the leftovers are great over rice too.

This seems likes lots of last minute steps but you can make the mushroom pork chili verde earlier in the day or the day before and just reheat it and using instant polenta is easier than making toast. Just promise me you will make the polenta at the last minute because it's so quick and it really is better fresh. If you like it thinner, just stir in  a bit more water right before you serve it and you will be good to go.


Mushroom Pork Chili Verde Polenta Bowls 
Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 40 minutes | Serves 4-6 with leftover chili verde

Ingredients
Pressure Cooked* Mushroom Pork Chili Verde
1-2 tbls grapeseed oil (or other flavourless oil)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb mix of baby portobellos and white button mushrooms, sliced a little more thickly than normal
a pinch or two of kosher salt
1 lb thinly sliced pork shoulder or pork shoulder
1 big handful cilantro
1 828ml (29 fluid oz) can tomatillos
1 27.5 0z can poblano chilis (I use San Miguel whole Poblano Chilis)
1/2 cup Corona
1 tbls cumin
1 tbls Mexican Oregano
pinch kosher salt
juice from 1 to 2 limes

Cheesy Jalapeno Polenta
4 cups water
1 tbls kosher salt
1 cup instant polenta
1 seeded, chopped jalapeno
100 grams jalapeno havarti, grated

garnish: crushed tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips, cilantro and a poached or fried egg

Method
First, make the salsa verde.
Drain the tomatillos and put in a blender. Drain the poblano chilis, discard the seeds and the stems and throw the flesh in the blender with the tomatillos along with a big handful of cilantro. Pulse until pureed and set aside.

To make the Mushroom Pork Chili Verde:
Heat the pressure cooker on sauté until it's hot and add 1 tbls of oil. Cook the mushrooms, a handful at a time, until they start to release liquid, pushing them to the side as you add more until they are all in the pot. Add a small pinch of salt with the mushrooms. If the pot seems to get dry, drizzle in a bit more olive oil as you go.

 Now throw in the onions and garlic and cook for another few minutes, until it's all sizzling before you add the pork, the cumin and the oregano. Stir it around for another minute or two, letting it sizzle away before you pour in the beer and the salsa verde. Keep it on sauté until the mixture comes to a boil. Now, hit cancel, put on the lid and lock it, making sure that the steam valve is closed and program if for 20 minutes on manual. When the 20 minutes are up , the timer will start to count up as it starts to release pressure.

This is when you can make the polenta.
Bring the water to a boil in a heavy pot, add the salt, the jalapeño and whisk in the polenta and keep whisking until it starts to thicken up and then switch to a wooden spoon. Keep stirring constantly with the wooden spoon for about 3-4 minutes until it's nice and thick. At that point, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cheese, beating vigorously with the wooden spoon until the cheese is melted and fully incorporated into the polenta. Put on the lid and put aside.

Once the chili verde has sat for ten minutes to release most of the pressure naturally, you can release the rest of the steam and leave the lid on while you make the eggs. You can poach them or fry them but its best if you have a nice, runny yolk.

Spoon a good amount of polenta into a bowl, ladle the mushroom pork chili verde on the top, plop the egg on the chili verde and scatter some fresh cilantro and crispy tortilla strips (or just crash up good quality tortilla chips) and serve.

Note:* If you don't have a pressure cooker, simmer in a pot on the stove for about 1.5 hrs instead.


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If you're the type of person who prefers the savoury brunch over the sweet, or if you're looking to spice up your weeknight dinner, Carole has shared a real winner here!! As always, a big thank you to Carole for joining us in our kitchen and always packing a ton of fun and flavour.

Follow along with Carole online at The Yum Yum Factor, and on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Guest Post: Cheesy Buffalo Mushroom Bombs with Ale Ranch Dip by The Tasty Gardener

We have a guest in the kitchen! We're thrilled to welcome Heather of The Tasty Gardener back into our kitchen, and just in time for patio season!! Heather has us reaching for a cold beer with these soon-to-be summer favourites. 


When it comes to mushrooms the white button gets the short end of the stick. It is chopped, diced and macerated into recipes that cover up its resiliency and taste. All the other big names in mushrooms; crimini, portabella, shiitake, they get the star treatment nowadays as people are experimenting more and creating new and wonderful dishes. I totally understand.

It's the white button, however, that is usually our first personal foray into mushroom loving. Whether it was mom's homemade soup, or the Chinese restaurant down the streets' fried rice, we usually tried this little guy first. There is a reason the white button mushroom sits alongside the carrot sticks and cucumber slices on a veggie platter and not an oyster. (Sorry oyster mushroom.)

So I wanted to celebrate my little friends in the best way possible; by creating these flavour bombs. These caps are stuffed with a garlic cheese mixture, breaded, deep fried, tossed in buffalo sauce and served with a very adult beer ranch dip. Simple ingredients, a few steps and BOOM!


Cheesy Buffalo Mushroom Bombs with Ale Ranch Dip
Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 4

Ingredients
For the Cheesy Stuffing:
2 pkg. white button mushrooms, medium sized, caps removed (about 26)
1/2 pkg. cream cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
For the Breading:
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
Oil for frying
For the Buffalo Sauce:
1/2 cup buffalo style hot sauce
3 tbsp melted butter

Method
1. To make the cheesy stuffing: Combine together the cream cheese, parmesan, cheddar and garlic. Stuff each cap with about 1 tsp worth filling the hole and leaving a little mound on the outside. You may have leftovers so find more mushrooms or save for other deliciousness.
2. To Bread the Mushrooms: In one medium bowl combine the breadcrumbs, cayenne, salt and pepper. In another bowl beat together the egg and milk. In a third bowl place the flour. Take each stuffed mushroom and toss it in the flour, then the egg and finally the bread crumbs. Place on plate and repeat with remaining mushrooms.
3. In a wide mixing bowl whisk together the buffalo sauce and butter.
4. In a large frying pan or pot heat 2" of oil over high heat.  Get a paper towel ready for absorbing excess oil. Once hot carefully place mushrooms stuffing side up and fry until browned about 3 minutes (you may need to do this in batches). Flip over and quickly brown the stuffing side, about a minute. If you let it fry too long the cheese will fall out. Using a slotted spoon transfer mushrooms to paper towel and blot any excess oil.
5. Once all the mushrooms are fried, toss in buffalo sauce and serve with the Ale Ranch Dip or your own favorite creamy dip.

Ale Ranch Dip 

Ingredients
1/2 cup cream ale (optional)
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
3/4 tsp dried parlsey
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to season

Method
1. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until serving.


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A big thank you to Heather for bringing these drool-worthy bites to our blog! Now, we just need that warm weather to stay for good. Watch for another mushroom-packed dish from Heather later this summer!!

Follow along with Heather over at The Tasty Gardener and on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Guest Post: Caprese Portabella Mushrooms by The Girl on Bloor

We have a guest in the kitchen! We're excited to welcome a fellow mushroom-fanatic to our kitchen, Taylor of The Girl on Bloor. Her mushroom love and enthusiasm is rampant on her own blog and now she's sharing her creativity with us as well. These plump portabella's will be a summer favourite!!


Hey everyone! Taylor here from The Girl on Bloor blog - I’m a freelance writer and photographer in my 20's that has lived on and off Bloor Street in downtown Toronto for the past six years. In that period, I’ve graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s degree in journalism from Ryerson University, and I’ve learned a ton about meal planning and cooking as a busy person along the way. It’s been a fun ride, and I’m even more excited to continue working on my food blog full time in the coming months!


I have loved mushrooms since I was a little girl. My love for mushrooms is so extreme that I even have a video tape of myself as a five-year-old crying because there aren’t enough mushrooms on my pizza. I love mushrooms in just about everything: burgers, salads, pastas, skillet meals...In fact, I’m proud to say that even as an adult, they remain one of my favourite vegetables to this day. I love how versatile mushrooms are, and they just add the most perfect, earthy flavour to whatever you happen to be making, from gravies to pasta sauces. If I could eat mushrooms everyday, trust me, I would!


Caprese Portabella Mushrooms
These Caprese Portabella Mushrooms are the perfect, filling side dish. Full of vibrant, summertime flavours, you’ll be tempted to enjoy these year round!

Prep Time: 10 mins | Total Time: 30 mins | Serves: 4

Ingredients
8 portabella mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
16 mini buffala mozzarella balls
16 cherry tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

Method
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, gently wash away dirt from mushrooms, then carefully cut away stems and scrape out each mushroom. Set filling aside.
3. In a large bowl, toss quinoa with mushroom filling, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Stuff each mushroom with filling, then top each with two mozzarella balls and two cherry tomatoes.
4. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese is completely melted. Remove from oven and top each mushroom with a bit of fresh basil. Enjoy!


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If you like this recipe, you may also want to try:
The Keg’s Mushrooms Neptune
Chicken & Triple Mushroom Potstickers
Roasted Vegetable Flatbread

A huge thanks to Taylor for bringing her creativity and excitement to our blog! We can't get enough of these juicy stuffed caps and are very excited to see what she comes up with next!! Watch for Taylor's second guest post later this year.

Follow along with Taylor at The Girl on Bloor, and on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!