I chose mushrooms as my food challenge for the week. Why? Since my childhood, I’ve hated mushrooms and have avoided them like the plague. Pretty tough to do growing up in a mushroom-loving home.
No matter what, it seemed that mushrooms always ended up in our food.
What is it about their taste that had me avoiding mushrooms for so long? I have no idea. In truth, I’d never really tried them. I think I grew up hearing all those tales about poisonous wild mushrooms, so I took the message to heart and stayed away.
Last month I gave fish a try (I’ve eaten sushi 4 times since!). It only makes sense that I give my mighty foe, the mushroom, a fair shake.
I knew I’d be roasting a whole chicken last night. I needed a side dish, so I settled on cremini mushrooms and red pearl onions. Why that combo? It struck my fancy.
- Whole chicken (4-6 lbs.)
- 4 Tbsp. of butter, separated (2 of the 4 should be soft)*
- 2 C Cremini mushrooms, washed and stems removed (halve large mushrooms)
- ½ C Diced red bell pepper
- 10 Red pearl onions, skins removed (if using frozen, thawed)**
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Clean chicken, removing neck and giblets; pat dry with paper towel. Place on rack in roasting pan.
- Rub bird with two tbsp. of soft butter. Then season bird with salt and pepper.
- Fold the wings under the bird and truss the drumsticks together.
- Place bird in oven and cook 20 minutes for every pound. When the internal temperature reaches 165 F, the chicken’s done. When done, remove chicken from oven and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows the juices to collect in the meat (yum!).
- While chicken rests, in a skillet melt 1 tbsp. of butter over medium-high heat.
- Add pearl onions and sauté, about 7 minutes. Add last tbsp. of butter, red peppers and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an extra 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
*I use 2 tbsp. of butter in the side dish — my fat count was running too low for the day. You can cut the amount to 1 tbsp. if you prefer.
**I only used 10 pearl onions because I wanted a lower carb count. If you are not counting carbs, use more if you like (it’s a power food on Weight Watchers).
My verdict on the cremini mushrooms?
Wow, I really enjoyed them. I was expecting something limp and slimy. Instead I got a nice, firm texture and a bit of a beefy taste, almost like the mushrooms were marinated in beef stock. I’m lovin’ that! While the cremini is the star of the dish, it didn’t dominate. Another bonus!
So will I use them in another dish? Yes! They were a nice, tasty treat. Since they are also known as baby bellas, I think there’s portabella mushroom out there with my name on it.
Now I need to think of another veggie to try next week.