Tasting the Season: Mushrooms
In the Winter, I like hearty, warm and thick dishes because the cold is conducive to hibernating.
When looking for food that is not only hearty, but also healthy, I pay attention to what might be seasonal in the Winter.
Mushrooms keep coming to mind. Their peak season is in the Fall and Winter and they’re one of the few foods that actually contain Vitamin D (they have ergocalciferol, a precursor to Vitamin D), something that’s hard to get when the days are so short.
My Italian family has a marinara sauce that I love to make. So I made a version of the sauce heavily based with mushrooms, artichokes, red wine and chicken. The ranges of ingredients are delicious and this dish can be served as a sauce, on its own, or with vegetables.
What You Need:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks
One package of mushrooms (sliced)
1 onion (sliced)
1 can 14-ounce diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup red wine (merlot works)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, diced
3/4 cup green olives stuffed with pimientos
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 can 14-ounce artichoke hearts, sliced
1 teaspoon basil (dried or fresh)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
Start by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a large pan and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, until hot, add the chicken and sauté until brown. Remove the chicken and set to the side.
In another pan add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano and simmer for another 10 minutes over medium heat.
After 10 minutes, stir in the chopped artichokes, olives and chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.
The longer you cook it, the more it will reduce and thicken. This is delicious served over pasta, I suggest rigatoni or angel hair depending on your preference. You can always include more mushrooms or chicken, to make it more of a baked dish and less of a sauce.
What sort of ingredients and dishes do you create in the winter that are hearty and filling for the cold months?
Food, we love you.