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Mushroom Cream Sauce

It's strange to think that several decades ago I was known amongst my friends and family as a "gourmet". My signature dish as a young mother was chicken with mushroom sauce over rice. It began with sauteed chicken breast cubes in oil. Once browned I add my "secret" ingredient: soy sauce, not to deglaze, but to ensure the pan was easy to clean. I didn't even know at the time that deglazing was a technique, not a way to clean the pan!

I then added Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup and a canful of lowfat milk. I let it boil until it thickened slightly and added cooked chicken breast chunks back in. It became my special dish, celebrated when friends came over or payday arrived. The Campbell's Golden Mushroom Soup at times was elusive. Not all grocery stores carried it, so sometimes I really had to search for it.

So, fast forward a couple decades later, and things have changed. I've attended culinary school and began to cook professionally. Now I know that mushrooms and soy sauce are the ultimate "umami". Now,  my mushroom sauce actually has real mushrooms in it, and sherry is added to round out the flavors. The nice thing about mushrooms is that once they darken slightly, they become more intense in flavor.

Here's a good recipe for your mushrooms that were forgotten in your vegetable bin. "Waste not" translates into not throwing money away in a professional kitchen. It just can't happen if you want to survive. This is a delicious mushroom sauce that is still perfect with chicken, but even better over ravioli.

                     Mushroom Cream Sauce

                                                                                          Makes 1 cup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablesppons minced shallots
6 oz. button Cremini mushrooms (sliced - ok if slightly past prime)
Kosher salt & white pepper to taste
1/2 cup Sherry
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 branch tarragon

In medium heavy sauce pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute, season with salt and cook until mushrooms give off liquid. The liquid will evaporate over 4 to 6 minutes. Add sherry and tarragon branch. Stir to dissolve any browned bits.

Raise the heat to high and simmer until sherry mushroom mixture reduces. Add stock and reduce by half.

Now add your cream and simmer over medium high heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Taste for seasnong before serving.

Serve over chicken ravioli or your favorite steak dish.

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