The magic of mushrooms {3 recipes for the forager in you}


Humble, earthy mushrooms; they’re a favorite of mine—and I love them all, from the fragrant morels (which will be in season soon) to hen of the woods (which happen to have amazing health benefits). They add a rich


I love adding mushrooms to a variety of dishes, so I’ve been trying to get S to take a bite of a cremini, a porcini, a shiitake or even a nearly tasteless button. But she won’t dare. I get the usual, “No thank you, Mama,” when something looks gross to her. At least she’s polite.

Here she is next to a few mushrooms that are part of the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in Central Park. It was freezing but refreshing that day I met an old friend from high school along with her children.

S with mushroom

Afterward, I made chicken with mushroom cream sauce, a rich winter meal.


Before you get all crazed about cream, butter and brandy all together in one dish (I know, I know) trust me, every once in a while it’s okay. As much as I love this recipe, it’s a once-a-winter type of meal.

Indulge, and enjoy!

Chicken with mushroom cream sauce

Serves 2
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Milk
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Gourmet
Region European
By author Tracey Ceurvels


  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of dried mushrooms (I like to use a mix of shiitake + cremini)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 chicken breasts (skinless and boneless, cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup of button mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup of whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup of brandy
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Freshly-ground pepper (to taste)


In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the dried mushrooms. Let stand until mushrooms soften, about 30 minutes. Drain and reserve soaking liquid. Remove any stems (and discard them), then slice caps. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to the skillet and sauté until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate.

Add all the mushrooms and the chopped onion to the skillet (the same one). Sauté over medium-high until almost all liquid evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add cream and brandy, then the mushroom liquid. Boil until almost thickened to sauce consistency, under 10 minutes. Return chicken and juices to pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to plates and serve with sauce and rice.

If you want a recipe without cream (and brandy and butter), then you might prefer this:

Chicken with mushrooms

Serves 3-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 5 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly
By author Tracey Ceurvels
Use a variety of fresh mushrooms that you like.


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2-3 pounds of chicken (on the bone)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of fresh mushrooms (chanterelle, shitake, porcini, button, e.g.)
  • 12 ounces of canned tomatoes
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • freshly-ground pepper (to taste)


In a large skillet heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and lower heat, cooking until garlic is soft, about 2 minutes. Add flour to a large bowl or plate and dredge chicken pieces in flour. Raise the heat to medium again and add chicken. Sauté chicken on both sides until browned for about 15 minutes. While chicken is cooking, in a separate pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes. When chicken is browned, add mushrooms and tomatoes. Add salt + pepper, to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for 5-10 more minutes.

Serve over rice, with sauce.

And if you like escarole, you’ll enjoy this super easy to make pasta dish with mushrooms. It’s a great weeknight dish.

Fettuccine with mushrooms + escarole

Serves 2-3
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
By author Tracey Ceurvels


  • 1/2lb pound of fettucine
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion (diced)
  • sea salt
  • freshly-ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms (any you like) (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons of red wine
  • 2 cups of escarole (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh herbs of your choice, such as parsley, thyme or oregano (chopped)
  • 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of basil (thinly sliced)
  • freshly-grated Parmesan (to taste)


Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, pinch of salt, a couple of grinds of your pepper mill and cook until the onions are soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for about 5 more minutes. Add the wine and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the escarole, herbs, and another pinch of salt + pepper, and cook for a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until warm. Stir in basil. Drain pasta and serve with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

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