Tag Archives: portobello mushrooms

Mushroom-Leek Lasagna

Cheesy, creamy, loaded with mushrooms, Mushroom-Leek Lasagna is a nice alternative to lasagna with meat sauce and a great casserole for a cold winter’s night. My husband can only take so many mushrooms—go figure—so I’m freezing half of it, instead of insisting on a week’s worth of leftovers. I did use a ton of mushrooms, and only some of them were his favorite shiitake, so I understand his apprehension, but he did eat one and a half servings. We both agreed that this white lasagna was less filling than the traditional red lasagna, which can seem heavy. It was very good, says this mushroom lover.

Mushroom-Leek Lasagna

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Preheat oven to 350°; grease a 13 x 9 inch baking dish or two 8 inch square dishes if you want to freeze one.

Ingredients

Substitute your favorite mushrooms, and keep in mind that they cook down, so you need a lot.

  • Mushroom-leek filling:
    • 16 oz shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
    • 24 oz baby portobella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
    • 8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
    • 3 oz maitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced in strips
    • 3 leeks, white portion only, cleaned and thinly sliced
    • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil for sautéing mushrooms
    • Salt & pepper to taste (I seasoned each batch of leeks and mushrooms)
  • Ricotta filling:
    • 2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
    • 2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
    • 1 lb fontina cheese, grated
  • 4 cups medium white sauce (béchamel, if you want to use your French). See recipe below.
  • Whole wheat no-boil lasagna noodles (my package was 9 oz)

Preparation

  1. Mix ingredients for ricotta filling and set aside or refrigerate until assembly.
  2. Sauté leeks in olive oil over medium heat until softened. Remove to large mixing bowl.
  3. Sauté mushrooms in batches in olive oil over medium-high heat until slightly browned. I cooked the shiitake first, because they are more delicate than the others. I cooked the baby bella and white mushrooms together until all the liquid they exude evaporates and the mushrooms brown a little. I cooked the maitake last in very high heat to brown well. Remove each batch of cooked mushrooms to the bowl with the leeks. Mix the leeks and mushrooms to combine. I would say you need about 6-8 cups of cooked mushrooms to make full layers.
  4. Lay one layer of noodles in the bottom of the baking dish.
  5. Cover with half the the ricotta filling.
  6. Cover the ricotta with half the mushroom-leek mixture.
  7. Cover the mushroom-leek mixture with 1/3 of the fontina cheese.
  8. Cover the layer with 1/3 of the white sauce.
  9. Repeat steps 4-8 to make a second layer.
  10. Place a third layer of lasagna noodles over the second layer, pressing slightly to compact the lasagna. Pour remaining white sauce over the noodles and sprinkle the remaining fontina chees on top.
  11. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 30 minutes or until top is browned and the noodles are tender.
  12. Cut the lasagna into 8 large squares.

Medium White Sauce

  • Servings: 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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Increase ingredients to make 4 cups:

For every 1 cup of sauce, use

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup of milk—you may scald the milk first in a saucepan or microwave
  • dash of ground nutmeg

Melt the butter over medium low heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper until all the flour is incorporated. It will be a very thick mixture. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring continuously. You shouldn’t get any lumps, but I notice that current recipes suggest whisking. I never had to use a whisk to avoid lumps, but I think the slow addition of the milk is key. Continue to stir, lowering the heat to a simmer if your stove cooks hot, until thickened.

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Earthy Venison Stew

This stew started with a recipe someone photocopied and gave to us years ago, which I adapted and simplified to fit the kinds of hearty, rustic flavors I thought better suited the venison. I used two pounds of cubed venison, for which you could substitute beef or pork. We butcher our own deer, and you can see in the photo that we keep it lean, so you need more cooking oil if using a lean cut of meat in the stew.

I really dislike the taste and texture of potatoes in this stew and don’t think it needs any starchy accompaniment, but I could see serving it with rice or noodles, if you really need that.

Earthy Venison Stew

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs venison, cut in one inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (or more—venison is very lean)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6-8 oz cremini or baby portobello mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3-4 cups venison or beef stock
  • 4-6 carrots, sliced (not too thinly, because they need to stand up to long cooking)
  • 3-4 cups fresh green beans, cut in about one inch lengths
  • 10 juniper berries, crushed, tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, unsweetened if you can find them (good luck)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation

  1. Shake venison with flour and pepper until coated. Heat olive oil in large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown cubes in small batches to brown evenly. Remove meat to platter until all is browned.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. In same pan, adding more oil, if needed, add onion. Cook until translucent, then add mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have begun to brown.
  3. Stir in tomato paste until well blended.
  4. Return browned meat to pan with orange juice and 2 cups beef stock. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Raise heat to medium again. Add carrots, green beans, and juniper berry package. Add at least one more cup of beef stock—you’re trying here to make sure you are making a stew, not a soup. Bring to boil and then cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  6. Remove juniper berry packet. Stir in dried cherries. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, using the last cup of stock, if needed.

The floured meat thickens the gravy, but you could add more thickener if you find you need it. Serve the stew in a bowl or over rice or noodles. The combination of venison, mushrooms, juniper berries, and cherries creates a unique flavor that is perfect on a cold winter night. It would be even better in a cabin in the woods with the fireplace flickering.