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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Simple shiitakes

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

I love mushrooms, but I don’t have a lot of experience with shiitakes. I’ve always enjoyed eating shiitakes when I was served them, but somehow felt a bit intimidated about buying them or growing them. I was glad to see Paul Lagreze of New England Wild Edibles from Colrain (www.newedibles.com) at the March 1 Greenfield Winter Farmers Market, both because he’s a nice guy and because he was selling dried shiitakes. Somehow, dried shiitakes seemed more “possible” to me than buying fresh ones, partly because I didn’t have to worry about the mushrooms going bad before I figured out what to do with them.

Paul gave me some recipes for miso/shiitake soup that sound very tasty. I pulled out the recipes this past weekend, but then realized I didn’t have all of the ingredients. So, I roamed around online to see if I could find a shiitake recipe that fit the ingredients I had on hand.

Hooray! I found this very simple and tasty recipe for chicken soup with ginger and shiitake mushrooms. I LOVE the combination of ginger and chicken, and the texture and flavor of the mushrooms are a great addition. What is YOUR favorite way to enjoy shiitakes?

There are a few spaces left in these classes at Greenfield Community College:

AGR 110 Beekeeping with Cliff Hatch; meets Tuesday, April 15 & 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and Friday, April 18 to May 2 from 1 to 5 p.m.

AGR 111 Four Season Farming with Danny Botkin, meets Wednesday, March 26 & April 9 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays, March 29 & April 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

EVS 152 Organic Gardening with Tony Reiber meets Thursday, April 24 from 6 to 8:50 p.m. and Saturdays, April 26 & May 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Abrah Dresdale at: dresdalea@gcc.mass.edu.

This week we’re eating ...

CHICKEN SOUP WITH GINGER

AND SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS

By Elise Bauer adapted from “Steamed Ginger and Mushroom Chicken” in “The Cultural Revolution Cookbook” by Sasha Gong and Scott Seligman)

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 25 minutes. Serves 3-4

Typically for this recipe, one would use bone-in chicken thighs hacked into big pieces with a cleaver, or with poultry shears. The bones help create flavor and richness for the stock. You can use boneless chicken thighs, if you prefer. Or use bone-in, and remove bones after chicken has cooked, before serving.

1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (dried is much preferable to fresh in this recipe)

3 C. boiling water

1 to 1½ pounds chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, cut into chunks

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced very thin

2 T. soy sauce

2 tsp. sugar

A pinch of salt

1 tsp. corn starch

Soak mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes. Use a bowl or a smaller pot to keep the mushrooms submerged in the water. While mushrooms are soaking, mix the soy, sugar, salt and corn starch in large bowl. Make sure there are no corn starch lumps. Add chicken and ginger to the bowl, toss to coat with the marinade, and set aside. When mushrooms have softened, remove from the water (saving the soaking liquid) and slice thin. Add mushrooms into the bowl with the chicken. If the soaking water has grit in it, pour the soaking water though a fine-meshed sieve lined with a paper towel into another bowl. Put the chicken mushroom mixture, and the mushroom soaking liquid into a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a bare simmer, cover pot and cook gently for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

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