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Staying in: Fresh mushrooms just taste better

Sautéed mushrooms have a great flavor, and the juice gives skillet sirloin deep flavors.

Sautéed mushrooms have a great flavor, and the juice gives skillet sirloin deep flavors.

Many cooks believe mushrooms come in a can, packed in water.

While generations of cooks learned to use canned mushrooms because of their convenience, fresh mushrooms now come sliced and are as convenient as canned – and a whole lot better tasting.

Mushrooms have a high water content, and if they are crowded into a skillet over medium heat, they will give off their water and simmer in their juices.

Mushrooms cooked in their juices will shrink and darken and produce a great flavor.

They also taste great if you cook them quickly over high heat. High heat evaporates the water quickly, so instead of simmering, the mushrooms turn golden brown (at least on some surfaces).

You can get that golden-brown look by resisting the urge to stir the mushrooms when you add them to the skillet. Spread them out, then let them sit a few moments to brown.

Make It Quick features menus for busy cooks. Recipes use a minimum of ingredients and allow express checkout at the supermarket. Flour, sugar, salt, pepper and oil or butter are presumed to be on hand.

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Skillet Sirloin with Mushrooms

1 1/4 pounds sirloin steak

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 tablespoon minced garlic, 3 or 4 cloves

1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth (substitute 1/2 cup dry wine for half the broth if you have it)

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Sprinkle steak on both sides with salt and pepper; cut into 4 pieces.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a wide skillet over high heat until very hot.

Add mushrooms. Spread them out, but don’t stir for 3 or 4 minutes, or until they start to brown. Stir several times, spread them out again and cook another 3 minutes. The mushrooms should be turning a golden brown rather than the muddier brown of canned mushrooms.

Transfer to a bowl or platter.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan; tip to coat the pan. Let the pan heat up before adding beef. Spread the beef in the pan, and allow it to cook for 4 minutes or so to let it brown very well. Flip, and cook another 3 minutes to give it a good brown color. Transfer to mushroom platter.

Add garlic to the pan. Let it cook several seconds to turn golden. If you have wine, add it now and let it boil vigorously 2 or 3 minutes before you add broth and thyme. If not, add broth and thyme together and let them boil to reduce liquid to 1/3 cup or so. Add mushrooms and steak, and heat through to serve.

Serve with potatoes roasted in a hot oven with olive oil and green beans. Serves 4.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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