Hi there! My name is Isabelle, and I’m the cook, photographer, writer and chief bottle washer over at Crumb: A Food Blog. I believe in cooking from scratch with fresh seasonal ingredients, in baking with shameless quantities of butter, and in bribing someone else do the dishes afterwards. When I’m not busy cooking, eating or taking pictures of my food, you’ll usually find me reading a book with a cat on my lap or catching up on the latest episode of Glee.
I’m really excited to be guest blogging for Mushrooms Canada, mostly because mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients. They’re so adaptable that I could easily eat them all day long without ever getting bored – folded into an omelette for breakfast, blended into a creamy soup for lunch, added to a risotto or a hearty stew for dinner… the possibilities are just endless, and that’s not even counting the wide range of cultured mushrooms available in stores!
One of my favourite things about mushrooms is the way they add hearty flavour and texture to meatless dishes. Take this recipe, for example, where a hearty vegetarian-friendly mushroom ragout elevates the humble baked potato from simple side dish to a meal in itself.
I was partially inspired by the British obsession with jacket potatoes – a staple on pub menus consisting of a big plump baked potato split open and filled with any number of toppings ranging from tuna salad to baked beans and cheese (and sometimes as far afield as chicken curry) – as well as the flavours ofa Hungarian Mushroom Soup recipe I’ve had in my repertoire for several years. I used a mixture of cremini, portobellos and shiitakes in my ragout, but even plain button mushrooms will do if that’s what you’ve got.
I’ll admit, the end result may not be the prettiest of dishes, but it’s exactly the kind of hearty, satisfying, deeply warming food you want on the table when old man winter comes knocking at the door.
Baked Potatoes with Creamy Mushroom Ragout
4 large baking potatoes, washed and scrubbed
1 tsp olive oil
Creamy Mushroom Ragout
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
3 tbsp flour 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake the Potatoes
Preheat oven to 425°F. Rub the potatoes with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and prick all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, or until a fork pierced through the skin meets no resistance.
Prepare the Mushroom Ragout
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the ragout. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil until butter is melted and foamy. Add shallots and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes longer, or until the mushrooms are soft and starting to brown. In a small bowl, whisk together white wine and flour until smooth. Add to the pan along with chicken broth and paprika. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until thick. Stir in the sour cream and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes to heat through (make sure not to bring to a boil, as this can cause the sauce to curdle). Remove from heat immediately, and stir in dill and parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
Once the potatoes are done, transfer them to a cutting board to cool for 5 minutes. Cut a slit through the top of each potato, and gently push on the ends to create a small pocket for the topping. Sprinkle the inside of each potato with a little salt. Ladle a generous amount of mushroom ragout onto each potato, letting the excess spill over the sides and onto the plate (yes, it’s messy, but it’s the best part!). Finish with a sprinkling of parsley or dill, if desired, and lots of black pepper. Serve immediately.
If you like this recipe, you may also want to try:
Polenta with a Leek and Mushroom Ragout
Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Creamy Shiitake Mushroom Sauce
Thanks so much Isabelle for being our guest. It's not easy making brown saucy foods look good in a photo, but I can't stop staring! Don't forget to follow Isabelle on her blog Crumb: A Food Blog, on Twitter and on Pinterest.