Fall is plenteous mushroom season. Mushrooms, both fresh and dried, are available all year round, but fall brings out the best of the best with a myriad of varieties. Whether you cook with fresh or dried, the healthy components of mushrooms provide a compendium of antioxidants, no matter what the season.
Shiitake mushrooms boast antioxidants more powerful than many other plants. Specific to mushrooms, these antioxidants are being studied for their antiaging health benefits and are even being cited by some as “master antioxidants.”
Balsamic vinegar comes in varying degrees of sweetness. This dish requires a rich, flavourful balsamic, not too acidic. Add a pinch of dark brown sugar, if needed, for a full-bodied flavour.
In this recipe, dried mushrooms are an excellent alternative. Simply soak dried mushrooms in hot water until plumped. Strain, using soaking liquid in the recipe in place of stock, or reserve for a soup. Pat plumped mushrooms dry before using in your recipe.
In medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta or cornmeal, making sure to remove any lumps. Turn heat to low, and cook uncovered for 25 to 30 more minutes, stirring every few minutes until it thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and begins to firm up. For creamier polenta, add a splash more water. When done, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and butter, if using. Cut firm polenta into shapes, as we’ve done here, if you wish.
Meanwhile cook mushrooms. In large cast iron frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add half the mushrooms and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with another 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, adding shallots and garlic along with remaining mushrooms, and sauté until mushrooms are golden. Transfer to bowl with first batch of mushrooms.
Deglaze pan with wine or water, scraping base of pan. Add rosemary and cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a brief boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in balsamic. Return mushrooms to pan, folding in until glazed. Season to taste with additional balsamic, salt, and pepper, if you wish. For extra glossy richness, stir in butter.
To serve, spoon creamy polenta into shallow serving bowls and top with braised mushrooms. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil, if you wish. Season and garnish as desired.
This Asian-inspired stir-fry takes full advantage of the crunch Brussels sprouts achieve when they’re heated quickly. The sweet-and-sour sauce delivers a tangy edge, and tempeh offers plant-based protein and a blast of umami. If you want meat in the dish, you can replace tempeh with ground pork. Ready, set, go Stir-frying is a cooking method that thrives on speed. That means you want to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to go into the pan. That also means no chopping on the fly.
Two fall stalwarts—rutabaga and Swiss chard—team up to bring seasonal flavour to these baked savoury cakes. A topping of velvety cashew cream adds a little extra spark. Rutabaga burgers, anyone? You can also prepare these cakes burger-style in a skillet. Simply form rutabaga and chard mixture into burger-sized patties and cook in greased skillet over medium-high, until golden brown on both sides.
If you’re feeling a bit burnt out when it comes to your typical morning repast, consider pivoting to this bowl of nutrition and quintessential fall flavours. It might just be the cozy sweater of the breakfast world. If you need extra energy to power your day, you can scatter on some crunchy granola. The sweet potato mixture can be made a day or two in advance and reheated in the microwave before serving. Pick of the crops For sautéing purposes, you want to use pears that keep their shape when heated. Bosc and Anjou are two good options. Fuji, Cortland, Honeycrisp, and Empire are excellent apple choices for heating in the skillet, as they won’t turn too mushy.
A plant-based spinoff of shepherd’s pie makes an ideal use for those surplus starches. Flavour-rich shiitake mushrooms and saucy lentils meet creamy potatoes in a protein-filled and satisfying comfort meal packed with nutrition and perfect for any cool-weather dinner. Mash it up Do you have other kinds of leftover mash on hand? Any mash befits the top of this comfort food. Try substituting potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes or yams. For lower carb options, try celeriac or cauliflower mash!