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Mushrooms, even the simple button variety always seem to add something special to a dish. Fresh will only last in my fridge for a few days and canned, in my honest opinion are unpalatable.
The first time I heard about dried mushrooms I was about as excited about them as I would be dried onion or garlic. Why bother when the fresh is so much better? Then I purchased a fancy variety once for a recipe and kept the leftover on hand. I was impressed both at the depth of flavor, and the convenience of having them available to use any time. I started purchasing them dried whenever I could find them or whenever the budget would allow.
When we first bought our dehydrator a few months ago, and I saw the 1# package of locally grown button mushrooms at the store, a light bulb went off in my head and I decided to try a batch of my own. They were so easy, and I was so happy with the results that I decided they will forever be a staple in our pantry.
If you want to dry your own:
*Start with mushrooms as fresh as possible. I really love varieties such as crimini, porcini, and morel, but even the “big” grocery that is most convenient to us is still in a small town so the best I can do are buttons. They are however, locally grown. I buy two 1# packages.
*Don’t wash the mushrooms; just wipe or brush away the dirt with a clean tea towel or mushroom brush. Any additional dirt will be washed away when they are rehydrated.
*Slice or chop them however you prefer and spread onto your dehydrator trays.
*Dry at about 135 degrees for anywhere from 4-10 hours. When they are done, they should look and feel crisp and brittle.
To rehydrate: pour enough boiling (or very hot water) over them to cover. Let them sit for at least 20 minutes or until they reach your desired texture and consistency. Use them on pizza, in omelettes, in spaghetti sauce, or in the chicken a la king recipe featured below.
Note: I am not an expert dehydrator. This is a new skill for me~ the brown shriveled kiwi in my cupboard will tell you as much. This post is not intended to be read as one from someone who has been doing this for years . I’m just sharing something that worked for us and that we enjoyed ~ I’m open to any comments and suggestions you may have.
Creamed Chicken A La King
2 T unsalted butter
1 c sliced button mushrooms
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and finely sliced
¼ c dry sherry
3 c white sauce
½ t thyme
4 c diced, cooked chicken or turkey
½ c sliced pimientos
Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium low heat and add the mushrooms, onion, and bell peppers. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the sherry and stir for 1 minute. Add the white sauce and thyme and heat through. Add the chicken and pimientos and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve over toast points or popovers.
~Adapted from Neiman Marcus Taste: Timeless American Recipes
Find this post and others like it linked to: Frugal Days Sustainable Ways,The Homeacre Hop, Tutorials Tips and Tidbits, Simple Lives Thursday, Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Farm Girl Blog Fest, Homemade Mondays, The Backyard Farming Connection Hop