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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Exploring the wide varieties of mushrooms

When most recipes call for mushrooms, it is usually button mushrooms. There are so many different varieties in the markets today. I want to explore a couple of different types today, the oyster mushroom and portobello mushroom. You get different flavors and uses for these two varieties.

Our recipes today feature mushrooms as a topping and a main ingredient. The first recipe, Smothered Pork Chops with Oyster Mushrooms, showcase tender pork with a mushroom topping. Our second one, Shrimp Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, the large mushroom is featured. Take a trip to the store, and Let’s head to the kitchen!

Smothered Pork Chops with Oyster Mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms have a delicate texture and mild flavor. Primarily found in the fall months, they are a great ingredient to cook with. Here’s a recipe that is based on one from chef John Folse. It’s a great way to incorporate mushrooms into your meals.

12 thinly cut pork chops

1 cup flour

1/2 cup shortening or bacon drippings

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups chopped celery

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped garlic

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 pound oyster mushrooms

3 cups beef or chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dry thyme

1/2 teaspoon dry basil

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Creole seasoning to taste

Season pork chops well using salt and cracked black pepper. Dust generously in flour and set aside. In a heavy bottom Dutch oven, heat shortening or bacon drippings over medium high heat. Sauté pork chops until golden brown on all sides. Once browned, remove and keep warm. In the same oil, sauté onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are wilted, approximately three to five minutes. Add beef stock, bay leaf, thyme and basil. Bring to a low boil, reduce to simmer, and cook three to five minutes. Add green onions and pork chops. Cover dutch oven and allow pork chops to cook approximately thirty minutes. Season to taste with Creole seasoning. Add parsley and continue cooking until pork chops are completely tender.

Shrimp Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Here’s a great recipe that can either be an appetizer or entree. Portobello mushrooms are a great protein replacement for meat in a vegetarian diet. The quickly made stuffing can be used in numerous dishes. It really shines on top of portobellos.

4 medium portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces peeled, deveined and cooked shrimp, chopped

1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425℉.

Wipe mushrooms with a clean damp cloth or paper towel. Remove mushroom stems and chop them coarsely; set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic and chopped mushroom stems in hot butter for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in chopped shrimp, breadcrumbs, egg, lemon juice, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until shrimp turn opaque.

Place portobello caps, Sten sides up. on a baking sheet. Divide shrimp mixture among portobello caps. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Serve hot.

In the case of the first dish, you could substitute button mushrooms for the oyster type. You will, however, lose some flavor. Be adventurous. Search out different varieties of mushrooms. They are very versatile and give you different flavors. They are a great and healthy way to add variety to your diet. Get some today!

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