Thursday, November 16, 2017

Shaggy Mane Omelette Soufflé

Shaggy mane mushrooms (Coprinus comatus) are a summer and fall mushroom in Nebraska. We found them growing in the grass by some campsites at Ponca State Park near the river, and they were everywhere. I wasn't sure what they were at first, but having read about them before, I was almost convinced they were shaggy manes. After some quick research and confirmation by mushroom experts on Facebook, I took a sackful home.


Further reading told me that shaggy manes do not keep well. Also known as an inky cap mushroom, shaggy manes turn black and basically melt into an inky pool when they turn. And once harvested, this process speeds up and you have to cook them as soon as possible. They also do not take being rudely jostled inside a bag too lightly. 

Shaggy manes should be harvested while they are still plump, fresh and the cap is tight around the stem. If most of the mushroom looks good and the edge of the cap looks like it is beginning to brown (see photo), just cut the dark parts off before cooking. I've read that although they're edible when black, they will turn into a goopy black mess in your pan and that is not appetizing. 

As late as it was when we finally returned home that day, I washed them and lightly sautéed them right away in olive oil to halt degradation. I then packed them into plastic containers and refrigerated them until I was ready to use them. 
When cooked, the smell was amazing. The whole house smelled like I was cooking a delicious omelette, and the texture was delicate and pillow-y. We're fans! I'm glad we now have another wild mushroom to search for after the excitement of morel season is over. Once you have identified them, shaggy manes are easy to spot, and they don't have a look alike, at least not in Nebraska.

This recipe is an adaptation of Bon Appetit's omelette souffle recipe. Beautiful and impressive, this omelette was surprisingly easy to make. I have yet to make a true soufflé, but this recipe gives me courage for the future. I thought the shaggy mane mushrooms would make this omelette extra special. The technique is the same. Watch this video for a visual: 



Servings: 1
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients: 
- 8 shaggy mane mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 2 teaspoons of chives, chopped
- Your favorite shredded melty cheese, such as cheddar, gruyere, swiss, etc.

1. Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise and wash under cold water. Drip dry in a colander. 
2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown mushrooms on both sides in batches, giving them plenty of room to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Separate egg yolks (small bowl) from whites (medium to large bowl). Beat the yolks and set aside. Add a pinch of salt to the whites and whisk until they form stiff peaks. This could take 10-15 minutes. You can also use a mixer to save yourself some work. 


4. Gently fold the yolks and most of the chopped chives into the whipped whites. Try not to work it too much to keep the whites from breaking. 
 5. In a 10-inch non-stick skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Evenly spread some of the mushrooms into the bottom of the pan and then pour the souffle mixture over the mushrooms. Make the middle of the omelette a little thinner so it will be easier to fold later. Add mushrooms and cheese on the top.


6. Cover the pan with a lid or another skillet. Cook for 3 minutes. 
7. Once the bottom is a nice golden brown, fold the omelette over. Carefully transfer the omelette souffle to a plate and garnish with remaining chives.
 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Spicy Jalapeno Venison Chili


Hot and spicy, it is no wonder chili is a favorite recipe for fall and winter, but its peppery flavors also do wonders at hiding “older” meat from last season. You know when ground meat turns from bright red to brown from freezer burn and oxidation? Chili doesn’t care like hamburger does. Chili will welcome any ground meat in hearty embrace.

For this Spicy Jalapeno Venison Chili recipe, visit: http://outdoorchannel.com/article.aspx?id=53851&articletype=article&key=spicy-jalapeo-venison-chili-recipe

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