When I think of mushrooms, I think of autumn. Earthy, grounded, fragrant and homey. Just what you want when wisps of cold air start tickling (or smacking, depending on where you live!) your face.
But really, for cultivated mushrooms, there’s no longer a “season,” and, the more common ones are sold year-round.
Mushrooms with Marsala is a classic sauce, but it isn’t just for chicken anymore. Elegant enough for company, but quick and easy enough for a weeknight, try it on beef (steak and mushrooms — another classic, but with a Marsala twist), pork, lamb or a mixed-meat meatloaf… It even works as a pasta sauce (for example, stroganoff).
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- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms (e.g., cremini, button, shiitake, mini portabella, or a mix)
- 1 small onion, diced, or two large shallots, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4-6 stems of thyme
- 3/4 cup chicken stock* (for my vegetarian friends, vegetable stock works, too!)
- 3/4 cup dry marsala wine*
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, or cornstarch (optional, if you want a thicker gravy-like sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher (not table) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Clean and trim the dried stem ends of the mushrooms, if using. Most of the rest of the stems will be usable if finely diced (unless it’s shiitake, in which case, stems ought not be used)
- Cut the small mushrooms in half or quarters, or slice larger ones so all pieces are equal size
- Dice onion or shallots
- Peel, smash and mince garlic
- Heat a 10-12 inch sauté pan to medium. Add olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add mushrooms, onions, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cover with lid and sauté until mushrooms are tender and reduced in size by half, about 10-15 minutes (check on them at the 10 minute mark).
- Uncover and remove thyme stems and continue to cook until most liquid exuded from the mushrooms is cooked off
- Add the Marsala wine and chicken stock and scrape any bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan. Simmer uncovered until the liquid reduces by 25%, about 5 – 7 minutes
- If needed or desired to thicken sauce, thoroughly mix flour (or cornstarch) with 1 tablespoon water and add to the pan of mushrooms. Simmer for 1-2 minutes
- Remove from heat and stir in butter