Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Mushroom "Ketchup"

Mushroom ketchup is one of those things that elicits a funny expression when people hear it. Understandably, it evokes the image of the more familiar tomato ketchup but in truth, is closer to what Americans call, "Steak sauce."

This was an experiment, and as it only made about a pint, I skipped canning it in favour of keeping it in the fridge. We weren't sure what exactly to use it on-until we began using it. Tonight, it dressed up steamed broccoli at the table.

I'll try this again using a combination of dried and fresh mushrooms. This time I used only fresh shitake, and the stem of a large trumpet mushroom. I'm not sure what an ounce of dried porcini would bring to it in terms of depth, but at some point, I'll give it a try.

You Will Need:

(about) 1 lb. fresh mushrooms (I used Shitake and Trumpet)sliced thinly
2 tablespoons coarse salt or sea salt (or canning salt if you have it)

1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
6 scallions, white part only-sliced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup sherry

24 hours before:
Place mushrooms in a plastic strainer or colander and set over a bowl to catch liquid. Salt the mushrooms, cover lightly with a tea towel, and set in fridge to drain for 24 hours.

Puree the mushrooms in a food processor with the liquid in the bowl. Transfer to a large, heavy non-reactive pot (I used an enamel pan) along with everything else. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook down until it is thickened. It should be close to the thickness of tomato ketchup, but should not mound on a spoon like apple butter. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from heat, remove bay leaves, and puree in batches (be careful, it is hot) and return it to a smaller pan to cook over very low heat for another fifteen minutes or so. Remember, you want it smooth, so if there are still bits of mushroom, you may wish to puree it again, and force it through a fine sieve.

Bottle, and store in the fridge. Makes about 1 pint. I'm storing mine in a large molasses bottle, which lets it pour nicely.

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