I’m writing this recipe while listening to The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Simply incredible.
Today is Monday, January 21, 2013. The day of The Presidential Inauguration, falling on Martin Luther King Day. And it’s the day my little Noah has turned 10 months old. Just another day to some people yet so much more, to others.
For me, a day of living in the present in Belgium and writing about creamed mushrooms while watching CNN, and staying connected to America.
But I have a confession. I used to fear cream sauces. Fear making them, not eating them, because there has never been a cream sauce I did not devour. Growing up in a Korean home, dairy was not presented to me readily. Yet, I do not have the lactose intolerance so many of my fellow Koreans suffer through. And so I overcame my fear of creating homemade cream sauces and stopped buying the pre-made stuff or eating out anytime I wanted a decadent cream-based sauce.
½ pound Oyster mushrooms
½ pound White Button mushrooms
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons sugar
salt / pepper
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1. Shake out any dirt or residue from the Oyster mushrooms, and brush / wipe clean each White Button mushroom.
~ If you can help it, don’t wash mushrooms. They soak up water like sponges and the flavor of the mushrooms will be compromised. And we don’t want to put those poor mushrooms in a compromising position, do we? A swift dry cleaning of your freshly purchased mushrooms should suffice.
2. Tear the Oyster mushrooms, by hand, into half inch strips. Slice, with a sharpened knife so as to not bruise, the White Button mushrooms into half-inch pieces. I chose these two types of mushrooms because they were fresh from the farmers market, but really, you can use your favorites for this recipe.
3. In a frying pan/skillet, heat your butter over a medium flame and then add mushrooms to pan. Stir and cook for 6-8 minutes, until slightly softened and “tan”-looking.
~ If you keep the flame on medium and stir the entire time, there shouldn’t be too much “mushroom liquid” in the pan. If there is just pour it off, and return the pan to the flame.
4. Add the flour, over the mushrooms, while stirring. Wooden spoons work best for mushrooms and pan alike. Scratches to the bottom of your pans will hurt your wallet in the long run.
5. Your mushrooms should look coated and a little doughy. Add the cream and sugar and salt/pepper to your pan, each slowly while stirring the mushrooms.
~ By adding the cream to the flour, as opposed to the other way around, you will avoid floury clumps in your sauce. I’ve tried it the other way around and find that adding flour first then cream yields a smoother sauce.
6. Leave the pan on the medium flame until the mixture simmers, stir with your wooden spoon, until you achieve the thickness in the sauce you desire.
8. Serve and enjoy. I use this dish as a side to whatever meat or fish entree I’m serving. This particular day, it accompanied steak and potatoes.
I don’t know why I ever feared making cream sauces in the past. Perhaps because I never watched my mother make them. But I use cream-based sauces at least twice a week now in my post-life. Hope you’ll try this sauce!