Q.

What’s the best mushroom to use in sauces for beef?

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A.

Because both beef and mushrooms have an umami element to their flavor, most mushrooms will pair well with beef. Which mushroom you choose is more a factor of what flavors you’re looking for in your dish.

Porcinis, shiitakes, morels and matsutakes are particularly strong. All of them are earthy, but porcinis are particularly so. Morels have a “buttery” element to their flavor and matsutakes are also very resinous/pine-y. Candy cap mushrooms probably also belong in this category and have a sweet, maple-y flavor that may disqualify them for some beef dishes.

Hedgehog mushrooms, chanterelles, black trumpets, portabellos and lobster mushrooms are more medium-volume. Hedgehogs and black trumpets have a buttery note to their flavor, chanterelles are nutty and lobster mushrooms have a seafood-esque flavor can be used to give a “surf and turf” feel.

Enokis, oyster mushrooms, creminis, wood ears, beech mushrooms and maitakes are on the mild side, and thus a good choice for bringing the extra body and texture of mushrooms to dishes without competing with the beef.

– Question Submitted by Kellie




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