By Denise Albert
My family and I moved to Little Rock about 9 years ago now and to this day, I'm always shocked when it comes to harvest season. For instance, I crave apples and apple pie in the fall, say late September to early October, but in Arkansas that is late for picking.
Strawberry picking comes earlier than it did where I grew up in Iowa so last year my kids and I got the last few berries at a strawberry patch in Greenbriar. Like what do you mean it's the end of the season and fruit is limited?
This spring I've tried to be more on top of the harvest but true to my seasonal mishaps it seems I missed morel mushroom season. Again. Meanwhile in Iowa, my parents are just getting started with their mushroom hunting.
Morel mushrooms are one of those foods that I took for granted growing up in Iowa. My parents loved to go hunting for these little mushrooms and my mom would bread them and fry them up and we would have it as a side dish to whatever meat my mom prepared. I enjoyed them, but I wouldn't say I craved them or anything like I do now. Nostalgia? Perhaps.
As a kid, I thought my parents were actually kind of weird going out into the woods to forage for these things. I went with them a couple of times and hated it. I didn't find one mushroom of course, I'm sure my attitude had a lot to do with it. Now that I have children of my own and am somewhat of an adult, my perspective has changed so I was really bummed when I found out I missed the hunting season.
Of course I did. Because that is par for course here in Arkansas.
I have been able to enjoy some really delicious mushrooms, though purchased, from my friends at Bramble Market. I enjoyed beautiful Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms. My children love mushrooms in a family dish that I try to make often served over egg noodles.
Mushroom and Beef Skillet
1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons garlic
2 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
1 can of golden mushroom soup
1 pint of any type of mushroom cleaned and sliced (button mushrooms, Shiitake, Oyster, or a mix)
1 cup water
1 package egg noodles/cooked to package directions
In a large bowl add ground beef, bread crumbs, chopped onion, garlic, and Worcestershire Sauce and mix well with your hands. This gets messy! Once combined, score the meat so you have 4 sections. Take each section and make it into a beef patty. You will have 4 patties unless you desire to make the patty's smaller then you can make about 6.
In a large frying pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat and place the beef patties around. Mix the golden mushroom soup with the 1 cup of water and pour that over the beef patties and cook. Add cleaned/sliced mushrooms and cover with lid. Let cook for 10 minutes or until beef is cooked through. You can add salt and pepper here and another dash of Worcestershire sauce here if you like.
Serve over egg noodles and enjoy the wonderful mushroomy umami* flavor! *Umami is pronounced u·ma·mi and is a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavor of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate.