So if you read my outdoor article last month titled “Fundamental Foraging,” you would know my boys and I recently came into a good supply of mushrooms harvested from a tree near our …
So if you read my outdoor article last month titled “Fundamental Foraging,” you would know my boys and I recently came into a good supply of mushrooms harvested from a tree near our house. These were chicken of the woods, and after cutting them up and cleaning them off, I dehydrated them and vacuum sealed them for preservation.
This much you would likely have gathered from my other article; however, the question you would have been left with is: what in the world do I do with this mushroom supply?
They reconstitute very easily, so you can simply sauté them or add them to a stew—which is never a bad idea—but I prefer one very specific use. In their dried form, they can be easily ground in a spice grinder or if necessary with a mortar and pestle.
Once you have this magic powder, you can add it—not unlike a bouillon—to any number of gravies, sauces or broths as a thickening agent.
Here’s the big country secret. Not only does this ingredient act as a thickener and a binder similar to cornstarch, but it also adds flavor, unlike the aforementioned option.
You can apply the same idea to other mushrooms, I’m sure, but for the moment, this is the special treat we have on hand.
Now I’m a breakfast guy. I may not eat as many as I want to, for sake of time and workload, but I love breakfast meals.
One meal that I never appreciated until my wife made it for me was sausage biscuits and gravy. I’d seen my grandfather order it at diners for years and I’ve tried it in small doses, but never thought it was very good.
My wife changed all that when she showed me her family method of slowly building the gravy up from homemade breakfast sausage straight from the farm. Milk direct from the cow never hurt in sweetening that gravy, and she made it perfectly thick enough to stick to your ribs and pack every ounce of flavor into it, with the hot runny goodness of an over-easy egg from our chickens to break over the top.
The only part that wasn’t from the farm, now that I think about it, was the biscuits—which we could make if we weren’t as lazy as we are—and the flour or cornstarch used to thicken the gravy.
Now that we had a stash of good mushroom powder though, the list of homemade ingredients has neared critical mass for the perfect breakfast. I know a certain copyeditor who claims to have a good biscuit recipe… Perhaps I’ll have to reach out to her for the ultimate form of this classic dish.
The way out here, we keep an open mind when it comes to food, and sometimes the best ingredients aren’t even as far as the grocery store.
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