There’s no arguing that mushrooms and wine blend perfectly. Shiitake Crimini Mushrooms does just that. The woodsy, forest-rich flavors are easily complimented by plenty of wines that carry the same characteristics.
I remember not liking wine at all when I first tasted it. To me, all wines tasted the same and made me sleepy. I thought what’s the point. Why do people like it? At the time I was young, and clearly, I didn’t know better.
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even add it to the food.
When talking about wine I’m not sure even where to start. It’s a very sensitive subject. It’s a very evolving subject. Wines have distinctive flavors that grow on you. You look for it somewhere, later, because of some memory, which was created along with its taste.
Wine can also transport you to the time and the place where it was made.
Some of the most widely grown varieties of grape are Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah. There are many factors other than the varieties of grape that have an affect on the flavor, complexity, and quality of a wine. This includes the region, the grape grower, and the winemaker. There’s the style of wine to consider. Is it dry, sweet? Sparkling? Fortified? These are the basic foundations of understanding the characters of a wine.
For me the appreciation of wine grew with time. It’s similar to stepping into a shower with a comfortable temperature then making it a little hotter a few minutes later, and even more a few minutes after that. Your body gets used to it and you push further. My first wine experience was very gentle. I enjoyed soft, light bodied wines that were clean, crisp, and easy to drink.
Later I started exploring different varieties and discovered I preferred richer fuller wines. Wines with dark fruit and hints of earthy tones were some of my favorites. However, after some time with them, I went back to liking lighter wines again. It all really depends on the mood, the food, and even the time of the day. But the main thing is to appreciate its diversity and enjoy the difference.
Recently I’ve been cooking with wine and actually adding it to the food! I find it wakes up the flavor and brings a richer tone to the food. It adds a natural sweetness and tartness at the same time that balances and combines other ingredients into a perfect, savory dish.
Today’s recipe is Shiitake Crimini Mushrooms with Red Wine Reduction on a bed of simple mashed potatoes. Serve with wine, of course!
Shiitake Crimini Mushrooms with Red Wine Reduction is a grown-up’s comfort food!
- Mashed Potatoes
- 3 purple potatoes, medium
- 3 white potatoes, medium
- 1/2 cup coconut milk, or half and half
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 red onion, medium
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 sprig sage
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup of red wine, dry
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and boil potatoes separately by color until tender. Mash with potato masher or fork. Add coconut milk (or half and half), salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
- In small amount of water boil green peas, about 5 minute. Drain water. Add olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- Preheat a heavy saucepan on medium-high heat. Sauté onion until golden brown.
- Add chopped or whole mushrooms and cook until moisture has evaporated and mushrooms are caramelized.
- Add finely chopped garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook another minute.
- Add wine and gently simmer on medium-low heat until reduced by half.
- Serve on top of mashed potatoes and top with green peas.
- A side salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper goes well with this dish.