Last-minute meals are the worst. This weekend, make some mushroom preserves, and when dinnertime calls next week and you're short on ideas, turn to the ingredient as a starting place for any weeknight meal.
In this week's Washington Post, food preservationist Cathy Barrow makes the case for mushroom confit, or preserved mushrooms that have been slow-poached in oil, a process that intensifies the mushrooms' flavour while creating a lush, velvety texture:
With a little bit of weekend work, this jar of umami sits in the refrigerator, ready for recipe inspiration all week long. Use the preserved mushrooms for quick pasta sauces or pizza toppings, or tuck them under the skin of a chicken for pan-roasting. Meaty and satisfying, the mushrooms are waiting to be dashed across a puff pastry tart, studded through bread pudding, rolled up in a taco or spooned into an omelet.
Mushroom confit is rich in nucleotides and boosts the savoury meatiness or umami factor of any dish. You can use it as a topping, filling, flavouring agent or sauce base to significantly shorten the prep time of weeknight dinners.
This is a short but satisfying weekend project; expect it to take around an hour and a half. You'll need a glass jar, instant-read thermometer and edible mushrooms. The rest -- whether you want to use buttons or morels, a mix of mushrooms or a single variety, to pulse them or keep them whole -- is entirely up to you. And although you can use the stuff right away, it will last for at least two weeks. For the confit recipe as well as a few preparation ideas, head to the link below.
For a head start on your weeknight cooking, here's what to make [Washington Post]