Special of the Day~ A Mother Lode of Montana Morels!

Rustic Chicken and Morel Mushroom Tart

08 Jun Special of the Day~ A Mother Lode of Montana Morels!

Sydne George Special of the DayOpening an email from a dear friend with a subject line reading morels and a message saying,

“Dear Sydne,

We picked morel mushrooms.

Would you like some?

Love,

Lisette”
was such a delightful surprise for a girl like me last week.

Would I like some? I’d love some! And the very next day when I arrived home midmorning from running errands, there was the box filled with a mother lode of Montana morels.

A sign of spring or early summer, the magical morel mushroom remains somewhat of a mystery to most, though many will claim they can be found near dead or dying trees or areas previously affected by a forest fire.

I’ve never picked them myself, but I sure was grateful to have been the lucky recipient of our friend’s wonderful windfall.

I did run across a note of caution in researching the morel, that one should most definitely have a field guide to wild mushrooms along when hunting, or preferably an expert that can differentiate between real morel mushrooms and look-alikes that could be poisonous.

Make sure to briefly soak the freshly foraged morels in salted water, then rinse in fresh water and dry thoroughly in a clean towel before using. If you want to preserve them for future use, spread them out on a dry towel and continue drying them in the sun until they are completely dried and light in the hand.

And not to worry, my friends, if you don’t have access to morels in the wild, you can purchase them dried in the produce department of Albertsons.

With heartfelt thanks to Lisette Carter for graciously sharing her harvest comes this week’s Special of the Day~ A Mother Lode of Montana Morels and recipes for Rustic Chicken and Morel Mushroom Tarts, Steak and Morel Mushroom Bites and Morel Mushroom Pâté. Happy cooking!

Rustic Chicken and Morel Mushroom Tart

Rustic Chicken and Morel Mushroom Tart

Rustic Chicken and Morel Mushroom Tarts

Recipe by Sydne George

Makes two 4-inch round tarts

1/3 cup chicken stock

1/3 cup dried morel mushrooms (Albertsons produce department)

1 cup rotisserie chicken meat, sliced into thin bite-sized pieces

4 ounces brie, sliced into 1-inch pieces

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

2 tbsp. butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tbsp. butter

¼ cup sage leaves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat chicken stock to boiling in microwave.

Stir dried morels into boiling chicken stock and let sit briefly.

Unfold one sheet of thawed puff pastry and cut into two 5-inch squares.

Drape puff pastry squares over 5-inch round tart pans with removable bottoms, crimping crust at edges and trimming as necessary.

Top crusts with chicken slices and brie slices.

Melt 2 tbsp. butter in small sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until softened.

Remove morels from stock and chop roughly.

Add chopped morels to butter and sauté briefly until softened.

Top chicken and brie with sautéed morels and garlic.

Wipe out sauté pan and return to heat.

Add 2 tbsp. butter and allow to melt.

Add sage leaves and fry until butter begins to brown and sage leaves are crispy.

Remove from heat and drizzle brown butter over assembled tarts, arranging fried sage leaves on top.

Bake assembled tarts on a baking sheet in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until puff pastry is golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

Remove tart rings and bottoms and serve tarts warm with lightly tossed greens.

Enjoy!

Steak and Morel Mushroom Bites

Steak and Morel Mushroom Bites

Steak and Morel Mushroom Bites

Recipe by Sydne George

Serves two as an appetizer

 ¼ cup vegetable stock

¼ cup dried morel mushrooms

¼ cup butter

1 clove garlic, minced

Two 6 ounce tenderloin steaks, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Baguette slices, buttered and warmed in the oven

Heat stock in microwave to boiling. Add dried morels, stir to combine and let sit until softened.

Melt butter in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic until softened.

Remove morels from stock and chop.

Add morels to pan and sauté until softened and cooked through.

Add steak slices to pan, season with salt and pepper and sear just until no longer pink.

Serve steak and morel mushroom bites with warm baguette slices.

Enjoy!

Morel Mushroom Pâté

Morel Mushroom Pâté

Morel Mushroom Pâté

Recipe by Sydne George

Serves two as an appetizer

 ¼ cup vegetable stock

¼ cup dried morel mushrooms

2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. shallots, minced

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp. sherry

¼ tsp. thyme leaves, minced

2 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat stock in microwave to boiling. Add dried morels, stir to combine and let sit until softened.

Melt butter in medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots until softened.

Remove morels from stock and chop finely.

Add morels to pan and sauté until softened and cooked through.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add sherry, thyme and parmesan and cook until sherry is reduced slightly.

Remove from heat and serve as an appetizer with crackers.

Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.

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