Ahh, nature’s Easter egg hunt. Every spring, thousands of morel hunters across the nation scavenge their local woods for these honeycomb-like mushrooms.
Much loved by gourmet chefs, especially those specializing in French cuisine, these mushrooms are an exquisite treat for any dish.
Fortunately, their decadent taste can be found for free – maybe even in your back yard. Morels often grow two to three years following areas hit by forest fires. Climates that are wet and cool and receive recent rainfall harvest excellent growing conditions for the fungi. Rotting or decaying roots make a great home for the mushroom as well.
Take the following recipe for Morel Sauce, provided by Wild-Harvest. Morel sauce can be used as a topping for your favorite beef or chicken dish.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar plus additional to taste
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 24 fresh morels (about 1 pound),cleaned and trimmed (or 1 ounce dried morels, soaked, reserving 1/2 cup soaking liquid) 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock fresh lemon juice to taste
In a small heavy saucepan boil water with sugar, without stirring, until a golden caramel. Remove pan from heat and carefully add red-wine vinegar and 1 tbl. balsamic vinegar down side of pan. Stir mixture over moderate heat until caramel is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
In a heavy saucepan cook morels in butter, stirring, over moderate heat until liquid from morels is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Transfer morels with a slotted spoon to a bowl and reserve. Add shallots to pan and cook, stirring, until golden. Stir in wine and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.
Add stock and reserved morel soaking liquid (if using dried morels) and reduce to about 1 1/4 cups, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in caramel mixture. Add morels to sauce with salt and pepper to taste. If desired stir in additional Balsamic Vinegar, 1 teaspoon at a time, and lemon juice.