Recipe adapted from: Feast – Food to Celebrate Life (by Nigella Lawson)
I didn’t like mushrooms when I was growing up, and I was a fool.
I thought they were slimy and kind of gross, and they always seemed like a “filler” or even an afterthought in sautéed veggies or meaty pasta, which I felt was rather pointless and unnecessary. The idea of truffle being one of the world’s most precious and sought-after delicacies perplexed me more than fish roe and duck liver being the others. Of course I had never tasted truffle at that time, I only knew it was a type of mushroom. And people train pigs to find them in the forest. That sounded as bizarre as “Where the wild things are” to a 9-year old Japanese kid.
Fortunately, my taste bud had caught up to be able to appreciate the fantastic world of fungi by the time I was introduced to this version of mushroom stroganoff. Still, I was absolutely shocked by how delicious this dish came out despite of the recipe’s simplicity when I made it for the first time. Since then I have made this for many, many occasions, but every time, I’m amazed and almost confused as to how only mushrooms and a couple of spices (paprika and nutmeg) can deliver such a deeply rich and complex flavor. And every time, it makes me regret about all those years when I diligently picked out any mushroom slices I could find from my plate to avoid eating them.
The original recipe came from Nigella Lawson. I find the choice and amount of spices used in her recipes always spot-on so I knew this one would be tasty as well (although it actually managed to surpass my already high expectations). I had no choice anyway, I’m convinced she is a hypnotist – A few times she came onto NPR and described some dishes from her new book while I was driving, and the next thing I remember was either I was in line for the cashier at a supermarket with tarragon and chicken in my basket, or I had just ordered her book on amazon.
Even though mushrooms are naturally low in calories, Ms. Lawson’s version, in her usual sexy and confident manner, was unapologetically and fabulously decadent (she uses 1 stick of butter and 1.5 cup of sour cream – For 8 servings, but still!). Since I have a hard time stopping myself when I eat this, I made some modifications to make it a bit more waistline-friendly while attempting to keep it equally satisfying.
The result is rich, creamy and meaty goodness you can eat to your heart’s content without feeling heavy (or guilty, for that matter). It’s almost too good to be true, but as real as those truffle-hunting swines in the European woods.
RECIPE (2 Servings)
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Approximately total 4 cups of various mushrooms (2 cups per person, examples below – This time I used button/maitake/shiitake/portobello mushrooms)
- Button mushrooms – quartered
- Crimini mushrooms – quartered
- Shiitake mushrooms – remove the stalks and slice
- Maitake mushrooms – separate into bite size by hands
- Portobello mushrooms – Cut into 4 thick slices, then slice crosswise into bite size
- King oyster mushrooms – Half crosswise and slice
- ½ tsp~ butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup~ Greek Yogurt
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Heat the oil in large wide pan and cook onion and garlic until softened, but not colored
- Add the butter to the pan and swirl the pan to melt it. Add all the mushrooms and stir to coat them with butter. Cover and cook the mushroom with medium/low heat for about 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms give out its juice and the mixture looks moist.
- Take off the lid and add the salt, sherry, paprika. Grate nutmeg into the pan. Cover again and cook another 10 minutes with low heat. Add most of parsley.
- Remove from the heat and add the yogurt little by little (by about tablespoon at a time), stirring to blend into the mixture until desired consistency and creaminess is achieved. Do not put it on heat again, as yogurt will separate and curdle. If you need to reheat, put it on lowest setting and watch it out so it does not boil.
- Garnish with remaining parsley and serve immediately with cooked basmati rice.**
** You can serve this with egg noodle or just plain rice, but the book suggests to serve this with cardamom basmati rice – Just add cardamom pods gently crashed with the side of knife when you cook the rice according to package instructions (I use 2 pods for 1 cup of rice). I’m a fan of sweet and spicy cardamom, and it makes me so happy every time I lift the lid to get the whiff of the heavenly aroma when it is done. It is a perfect match for this stroganoff, I certainly cannot get enough of this!