I was given some dried morels from Marx Foods as part of their 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge and challenged to use these special mushrooms in a recipe where the primary method of cooking was baking.
You may not have heard of morels before. I have had a few dishes that used morels in a very special way, including a chicken fried steak with morel gravy, but it is not something that pops up on menus too often. Morels are great at soaking up whatever they’re in. They’re great, earthy, sponges.
From Marx Foods’ site:
Morel mushrooms have a honeycombed, hollow, cone-shaped cap from 1 to 3 inches high. They grow naturally in a range of colors from tan to almost-black. Morels are one of the most prized and beloved wild mushroom varieties. People go wild for their buttery-earthy flavor and aroma.
Unfortunately, their fresh season is fleeting, lasting roughly from May to July. Dried morels allow you to enjoy the flavor and beautiful appearance of morel mushrooms year round, and they’re very easy to rehydrate & cook with.
Dried mushrooms are a great value. It takes about 5 pounds of fresh mushrooms to create 8 ounces of dried mushrooms. In addition, they can be shipped much more affordably than fresh or frozen mushrooms.
One of my favorite savory, baked recipes is ratatouille. It’s a very flexible and predictable recipe that can be easily adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
The first recipe I tried was Ina Garten’s Chicken with Morels, but I realized that while it has baking steps in it, the ingredients are cooked stovetop more than in the oven. I used the chicken I created using that recipe in this dish, but any protein can be used. You can also leave out meat all together and serve it with more quinoa to get the same protein punch. This keeps great in the fridge for leftovers, or frozen into lunch-sized portions.
Go check out all the other entries in the 5th Annual Morel Recipe Challenge, and if you’re up for it, vote for my ratatouille!
Thanks again to Marx Foods for the chance to play around with this funky ingredient.
Note: I was given the dried morels free of charge from Marx Foods, though all thoughts and recipes are my own.
By April 26, 2013Published:
- Yield: 1 13x9 (8 Servings)
- Prep: 20 mins
- Cook: 50 mins
- Ready In: 1 hr 10 mins
This is one of my favorite base recipes. It's very flexible, predictable, and can be easily adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand.
- 1 potatoes sliced thinly
- 2 red pepper sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- ¼ onion diced
- ½ ounce dried morels steeped in hot water until reconstituted, rinsed
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- ½ cup cheese grated
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- drizzle olive oil
- 1½ cups your favorite pasta sauce or curry
- Steep the dried mushrooms in hot water while you are preparing. Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Dice the onion and garlic. Cook them in a pan with your sauce of choice (I've used indian curries, thai curries, italian pasta sauces, and mixtures of all). Let the sauce simmer while you slice the vegetables you are using (zucchini, squash, potatoes, red peppers, eggplant all work and are interchangeable). A mandolin works best, but you can cut them thinly by hand or with a food processor blade as well.
- Put half the sauce in the bottom of a 13x9" pan. Layer the vegetables closely together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the remaining sauce.
- Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil and put in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and top with your pre-cooked protein of choice (or not!). Sprinkle with grated, melt-friendly cheese and pop in the oven for 15 more minutes.
- Serve as-is, or on top of quinoa. (You can cook quinoa in 20 minutes in a rice cooker!)
- Cuisine: French