Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mixed Mushrooms with Cabernet Hickory Wood Smoke

The weather on the east coast is amazing today. With temperatures in the 70’s I have all the windows open and fresh air (or as fresh as city air can be) is blowing through the windows. Since the windows are open I decided to pull out the stovetop smoker and get some mushrooms smoked for the freezer, and pizza tonight for dinner.

If you don’t have a stovetop smoker, no worries, you can still make smoked mushrooms. Before I got my smoker, a wonderful present from my friend Louis (thank you Louis), I used to smoke food in my wok. It worked fine, but wasn’t as air tight so you absolutely need to have the windows open if you aren’t using a product made to seal in the smoke.

I used the dried gourmet mushroom blend from Costco to make our smoked mushrooms but you can use anything. Whenever I smoke food I always make a larger quantity than I need for one meal and keep it in the freezer for when I need a big flavor but don’t have time. It is a huge time saver, smoke once, and eat multiple times.

While you soak the dried mushrooms also soak the wood chips. I used a cabernet hickory chip I bought at Crate and Barrel but any wood chip will do. This is how it works.

Mixed Mushrooms with Cabernet Hickory Wood Smoke
Makes about 4 cups – 8 servings


4 cups of dried mixed mushrooms
6 cups of water to rehydrate the mushrooms
1 handful of wood chips (about ½ cup)
2 cups of water to soak wood chips


Combine the mushrooms and water and microwave for 3 minutes. Allow the mushrooms to sit in the water for at least 30 minutes, longer is better. I put a plate on top the mushrooms once the water is warm to keep them submerged in the liquid. By adding the plate you don’t need to stir the mixture.

While the mushrooms are soaking soak the wood chips in another bowl. They can soak for as long as the mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms are tender Squeeze them of their excess liquid and move them to a container to go into your smoker. Don’t throw away the mushroom soaking liquid it has a ton of flavor. I strain mine in a fine sieve lined with cheese to get any potential grit that has come off the mushrooms. If you don’t have cheesecloth line you sieve with a coffee filter, or use a paper towel. Any of the three methods works fine.

Drain the wood chips thoroughly and move them to the bottom of your smoker. Add the tray or cover with aluminum foil is using a wok. Place the drained mushrooms on top. I add back about ½ cup of the mushroom soaking liquid to try to keep the mushrooms as moist as possible. Put the lid on and turn the heat to high for five minutes. The wood chips should be smoking in five minutes, if not leave the fire on high until they begin to smoke, then reduce the fire to medium low and smoke the mushrooms for 45 minutes. They will be a little dry, but you don’t what them to return to their dehydrated state. If you want really moist mushrooms add more soaking liquid to the container. Taste the mushrooms to make certain they are smoky enough for you. When they are turn off the heat and let the mushrooms cool.

The size of the wood chip will influence how long it takes to start smoking. If you are unfamiliar with the chips you are using you can start the pan heating (without the mushrooms) and add the mushrooms once the chips begin to smoke. That method is more reliable if you are new to smoking food. You want the mushrooms to taste of smoke, but not to be all dried out.

When they are cool portion them into 1 cup measures and store them in the freezer until I need them.

Nutritional information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 30
Calories From Fat (0%) - 0

Total Fat - 0g
Saturated Fat - 0g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 8.89mg
Potassium - 2.96mg
Total Carbohydrates - 8g
Fiber - 1g
Sugar - 0g
Protein - 1g


Once you have tried these you will find many ways to use them in your everyday cooking. Tonight I am making whole-wheat pizza with smoked mushrooms and vegan mozzarella topped with an arugula salad dressed with truffle oil. We are having a mushroom extravaganza tonight for dinner.

Please let me know if you are interested in more smoked recipes. I wanted to make certain people are interested in this method of food prep before I post too many smoked food ideas. Thanks!

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