Mushrooms over Lentils and Bulghur
Little Boy Green has discovered a penchant for mushrooms. He discovered them when Mrs Green took him to a pizza-making lesson, as they were one of the toppings for his pie. He dived straight in and ate them raw. Now he likes them cooked, too. Amazing. Both Mrs Green and I had a clear aversion to mushrooms as children that lasted well in to adolescence so we’re delighted he has zero hesitation. This is a taste that I am keen to cultivate and include more of in our repertoire, fungi apparently have super powers and what child doesn’t have an affinity for superpowers?
While on an outing to one of the many weekly veg markets that we frequent, Little Boy Green spotted a stall selling all sorts of mushrooms. He had never noticed such a variety and was keen for us to take some home. The dude considered eating them raw on the way home, but I assured him that their flavours would be enhanced when cooked and that their purported superpowers increase when cooked and with fats – some good oil. We cooked the mushrooms more or less to the recipes below and the assortment of mushrooms made for a fun dining experience for our little duo.
Our little dude has yet to have tried shiitake mushrooms which top the list of my favourite mushrooms and which are the star of the recipe below. We combine them with lentils and bulghur, both of which – alone or combined - are very popular in our household as they are super nutritious, easy and quick to prepare, and- most importantly - the boys will gobble them down!
This recipe is heavy on the mushrooms and is very similar in its preparation to a risotto. The lentils and the coarse bulghur add to the earthiness of the mushrooms and retain a nice bite for extra texture. If coarse bulghur is difficult to come by, then substitute with brown basmati rice and add the rice to the pan along with the lentils. Other types of brown rice will take longer to cook. In an previous post, Mushrooms and Buckwheat with Truffle Oil, the earthiness of the dish was further enriched with a drizzle of truffle oil. While our boys are a little hesitant, Mrs Green and I think it is like fairy dust. Try it- but go easy.
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/2 stick of celery
- 1 medium white onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 375g mushrooms
- 3 cups veg broth (we use bouillon and water)
- 2 tbls olive oil, more to serve
- 1/2 cup puy or brown lentils (not split lentils)
- 1/2 cup coarse bulghur
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parley to garnish
- In a separate cooking pot, warm the veg broth, or make using bouillon and water, cover and keep warm to use throughout the cooking process.
- Slice the mushrooms into thick pieces (we like big chunks of mushrooms) and finely dice the garlic and add both to a heavy based sautee pan (with lid) along with 1/2 cup of veg broth. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 min. stirring every couple of minutes.
- Meanwhile, finely dice the carrot, celery and onion.
- Remove the lid and add the olive oil and sautee for another 2 min.
- Using a slotted ladle, remove 2/3 of the mushrooms, put on a plate and cover to keep warm. Leave as much liquid as possible in the pan, if little liquid remains, then add 1/4 cup of water.
- Add the diced veg to the pan and gently sautee for 5 min. before adding the lentils and 2 1/2 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 min.
- Add the bulghur and cook for a further 10 min.
- Check to see if the lentils and bulghur are cooked, if not, add a little more broth (or water) and continue to cook until ready.
- Plate the lentil and bulghur and then top with the cooked mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and garnish with finely diced parsley.