I have a bit of a confession to make.
I used to be a bit of a mushroom-hater. I have a vague recollection of eating something mushroomy as a child and enjoying it, but for the greater part of my childhood/teen life mushrooms, for me, were not an option. Family and friends would go out of their way to make sure shared dinners didn’t include them – and I avoided them like the plague. I think it was the texture and the taste I disliked so much.
It wasn’t until I was about 22 and traveling through Japan that I remember the change taking place. I was visiting a friend who lived in Osaka who made me a big bowl of steaming vegetarian nabe (Japanese soup) on my first night at his place. He added a handful of sliced Japanese mushrooms to the broth. They didn’t look too bad and smelled great… Suddenly all my mushroom reservations fell away. I took a tentative bite and was completely hooked. It opened up the world of mushrooms to me and I loved it. Suddenly cup mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms were brand new friends and thus my love affair with mushrooms was born.
I still remember the surprise on my best friend’s face when, cooking dinner at her house after that trip, I insisted we add mushrooms to the stir fry we were preparing. “What, really?” she said, with big eyes. “Yes, REALLY,” I replied. From then, I was mushroom-obsessed. They literally could not go into enough of my meals. I was just so excited to finally try all these mushroom-related recipes I had avoided before, as well discovering that mushrooms added a wonderful flavour to so many of my regular go-to recipes such as stir fries, pastas, omelettes and so much more!
It’s funny how much a simple trip overseas has the ability to change a person. That five week trip to Japan was my first real adult trip without my parents and it really opened my eyes to a whole lot of things, especially food. I fell in love with not only mushrooms, but also avocado, feta as well as mochi and curry udon (two of my biggest food-loves).
Mitarashi dango. This is the BEST from street vendors! The sweet soy sauce topping is a bit of an acquired taste but I grew to love it.
Yatsuhashi – cinnamon mochi. unBELIEVABLY tasty. I cannot wait to go back to Japan and seriously overdose on this!
I could gush on and on all day about how much I love Japanese food and travelling there, but if you like, you can take a read a bit more on my post all about that by clicking here. I’m sure I’ll write something similar after my cherry blossom trip there in a few short months too!
Anyway, back on track and back to the Mushroom Pâté!
Australia Day is coming up and everyone knows that means BBQs-a-plenty and lots of family get-togethers! I find that I’m often asked to bring appetisers to parties so I tried to come up with a recipe that’s low in fat and incredibly delicious that everyone can enjoy, including those with common allergies and vegans.
After a bit of thought, I came up with this Mushroom Pâté recipe, and the good news is that it’s totally simple to put together. Why not whip up a batch of it this Australia Day and try something a little different from the dips and pâtés you would normally pick up from your local grocery shop this summer? It’s much fresher and better for you, without all the hidden nasties and preservatives you often find in those packaged dips!
Now, on to the recipe!
Start out with a bounty of baby bellas.
Slice ’em up and whack them into a pan with already-sautéed garlic and onion. After a minute or so, add the pan lid and cook on high for about 5 mins.
After about five minutes on high with the lid on it should look something like this and have developed some liquid. Some recipes opt to add some flour to thicken it at this stage but I didn’t feel it necessary. If yours develops quite a bit of liquid, I would recommend adding about a teaspoon of corn flour (dissolved in water to avoid lumps.) By the way, it was so hard not to eat the mushrooms just like this – especially on a piece of crusty bread. Bliss!!
After a few more minutes – this is about the final stage I wanted them at before cooling in the fridge – a good part of the liquid has evaporated, but you do want a little bit in there to smooth the pâté out some.
The next few steps are easy – place in the fridge until cool and then pulse in a food processor/magic bullet/blender with cream cheese until you get a fairly chunky consistency. Make sure you don’t go overboard with the blender as you don’t want a paste! I found a few pulses with my processor were more than enough.
Mushroom Pâté (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)
Makes: 1 small bowlful of pâté but serves at least 8 guests with crackers/veggie sticks.
Time to prepare: About 10 minutes to prepare ingredients, 10 minutes of actual cooking, 1-2 hours cooling time and about 2 minutes to blend.
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, diced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, grated (Use two large cloves, or 3 smaller ones – whatever you have on hand)
- 400 grams Baby Bella mushrooms (2 punnets)
- 2 T balsamic vinegar
- 2 large (I used a soup spoon) spoonfuls of cream cheese (I used vegan cream cheese – Tofutti from Coles)
Equipment needed: Chopping board, sharp knife, 1 saucepan, a food processor/blender.
- Clean and slice your mushrooms. Place saucepan on high heat and add 1 T of olive oil. Fry onion until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and fry for a further minute. Add mushrooms. Add extra tablespoon of oil if needed.
- Fry mushrooms for about 1 minute on high. Cover with saucepan lid and keep on medium high heat for another 5 or so minutes until mushrooms are cooked through. Remove to a bowl and cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until completely cool.
- Place cooled mushroom mixture in your food processor and add cream cheese. Blend for about thirty seconds until the mixture comes together but do not blend for too long – you don’t want it to become a paste – its much nicer with some texture to it.
- Serve with crackers, veggie sticks, melba toasts or corn chips! Enjoy!
Looking for some more ideas about what to use your leftover mushroom pâté for? It’s incredibly versatile and easily able to lend its great flavour to a bunch of snacks and other dishes!
- Stirring it through freshly-cooked spaghetti, with a good glug of olive oil for good measure
- Spread on toast, top with a softly poached egg for breakfast – great with freshly chopped herbs
- Stirred into a nearly-cooked risotto for instant mushroom risotto
- Folded into scrambled eggs for the perfect creamy omelette with mushroomy goodness
- Spread onto a wrap with some of your fave ingredients (e.g. salad, caramelised onion, feta or other cheeses, cold meats, vegetarian sausages, etc)
- Adding a few tablespoons of heated cream, or added to a creamy, cheesy sauce for pasta, steaks, or on baked chicken breasts or fish fillets. You could also try a version of this with steamed veggies too
- Spread on top of savoury pikelets, then top with slices of smoked salmon, chopped dill and lemon juice
- Fold into pancake batter for savoury mushroom pancakes
Mushrooms are so wonderfully versatile, not to mention naturally low in fat and a great source of Vitamin D (good for your bones and heart!) as well as lots of great minerals (potassium, phosphorus, copper, selenium and more!) for maintaining your health. Read more interesting facts about health and nutrition relating to mushrooms here. There were a lot of interesting facts about mushrooms I learned that I really had no idea about – it’s great to know that something so delicious is also so good for us too! 🙂
This post was sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers. Cooking Crusade would like to thank the AGM for this fantastic opportunity to be paid to blog about such a delicious ingredient! Thank you! 🙂
Another week has gone by! Hope you all had a lovely weekend – and the next one will be a long one 😉 Woohoo!