MUSHROOM OF THE WEEK - short ribs

Catalan Short Ribs with Oyster Mushrooms, a dish that highlights the flavors of Oyster Mushrooms in a great holiday meal.

ALTHOUGH Oyster Mushrooms can be found on a tree in the woods, even in the winter, hunting can also be fruitful at your local grocery store.  This is a simple dish that doesn't require much work and makes the whole house smell of the holidays with the cinnamon and smoked paprika roasting all afternoon.  A hearty winter dish that's one of our favorites for Christmas or New Year's dinner.  It serves about 5 people.  We often double it because it makes amazing leftovers.

Catalan Short Ribs with Oyster Mushrooms

1)  2 Tbs. olive oil; 2 lg. onions chopped medium

2) 2-1/2 lbs. short ribs, bone-in; 1 C white wine; 1 tsp. thyme; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; 4 plum tomatoes, chopped; 1 tsp. smoked paprika; 2 bay leaves

3) 1/2 lb. Oyster Mushrooms, chopped coarsely, stems removed; 4 cloves garlic, minced or thinly sliced

4) 1/4 C almonds, blanched; 1 slice white bread, toasted and broken into pieces

5) 1/2 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped; 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar

Sauté #1 until translucent.  Remove about 1/4 of the fat from the short ribs (optional) and add #1 and #2 to a large roasting pan, mix well and roast at 300 degrees for 1 hour.  Stir, then cook another 1-1/2 hours.  Stir, then cook another 1-1/4 hours.  Sauté ahead of time for about 5-10 minutes the oyster mushrooms with a bit of butter in a covered skillet.  Add #3, mix and roast another 1/2 hr.  Blend #4 well and add it in to cook a final 10 minutes or so.  Remove from the oven and mix in #5.  Serve with egg noodles. 

Try to use a roasting pan large enough that the ribs can spread out and make contact with the hot roasting air yet not spread the sauce out too thinly.  If it seems to dry out too much in your oven, you can always add some extra tomatoes, or 1/2 to 1 C apple cider, wine or broth.  By the way, this dish works fairly well with Shitakes, Brick Caps, Honey Mushrooms or Gypsy Mushrooms although it seems to pair very well with Oysters specifically. Enjoy!

Oyster Mushroom

"Pleurotus ostreatus," a.k.a., the Oyster Mushroom

Gary Gilbert lectures about fungi locally and through the Boston Mycological Club.  Some of his recipes will be featured in the soon to be released Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook, a compendium of recipes from myco-chefs throughout the country.