Mushroom Tacos de Carnitas

Mushroom Tacos de Carnitas

It’s been a while! Hello everyone! I hope you had a wonderful summer! Mine was spent exactly how I envisioned it! I had lots of time in the water, spending time with loved ones and living my lazy best life! That said, I am ready for autumn! While I love living a Jeff Spicoli summer, “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine,” around this time every summer, the wheels start coming off the bus. So now that the kids are heading back to school next week and Kevin is gone for the week, I will have the house all to myself for the first time in years. Years.

I am in a creative mood and hope to get the ball rolling on some new recipes. I am still working on some recipes for my cookbook and improving my food photography skills. I have just shy of 100 recipes written and photographed. It’s a pet project that I have been working on and want to finish by next Spring! I am pretty sure this Mushroom Carnitas recipe will be in the book!

The book is divided into sections and will be called “Vegan Around the World!” Recipes like Mushroom Empanadas, Sweet Potato Galette, Vegan Faux Gras, Chickpea Aloo Gobi, and Cajun Gumbo are sure to have a taste for every palate!

I have also dedicated several recipes to friends and family. One of my favorite vegan chefs is Joanne Lee Molinaro. I love her stories and how she weaves her culture into her recipes. I hope to share some of my philosophies regarding veganism, sustainability, and the science of health for not only us humans but also the health of the planet. I would also like to share some of my culinary instructions and advice. As someone who’s been in the culinary world in one form or another since the early 1990s, I can offer some easy substitutions and suggestions and maybe expand your culinary knowledge!

So, without further ado, let’s get to it! This Mushroom Carnitas recipe is nearly perfect. What does that mean exactly? Well, it has precisely 12 ingredients, it’s ready in under 30 minutes, and it is so good you will want to make enough for seconds. Promise!

I used two kinds of mushrooms for this recipe. There is a lot of flexibility in the mouthfeel for whatever type of mushroom you fancy. I used half king oyster mushrooms and portobellos, but you could also use shitakes, lions mane, really just about anything other than the small white button mushrooms. You want a nice “shreddable” mushroom. With a nice dusting of spices like cardamom, cumin, orange zest, and Mexican oregano, the carnitas are oven roasted for about 15 minutes.

I like to keep it simple. Much like the shredded pork variety, I used onions, jalapenos, garlic, and orange juice.  I also like the addition of the vegan Worcestershire sauce, and you could even use a tiny amount (1/8 tsp) of liquid smoke if you like.

The Violife vegan feta is an excellent substitution for Mexican Queso Fresco.  Highly recommend it!  Add some pickled red onions, avocado, and fresh cilantro, and call it a day, mis amigos!


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Mushroom Tacos de Carnitas

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25
  • Yield: 6 tacos 1x
  • Method: Saute, Bake
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Yummy carnitas!  You can make tacos, nachos, or tostadas!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz. of mushrrooms,  ( I used 4 oz king oyster mushrooms, and two portobellos, stem and gills removed)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped, plus finely chopped onion for garnish
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and sliced into 1/4” rings
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (reduce, or omit, if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoon crushed dried oregano leaves, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worchestershire
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, evenly divided
  • Salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • 6 small corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Salsa for garnish
  • Vegan Feta

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. (220°C) Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Clean and shred the mushrooms. Slice off the mushroom caps (if using oyster or portobello mushrooms) and gently pull them apart with your fingers. I like them approximately about 1/2 wide and 2 inches long. The important thing here is to ensure they’re all the same size. Add the mushrooms to a large mixing bowl and toss with the spices. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil and toss well.
  3.  Transfer the mushrooms to the prepared baking sheet and spread them out in an even layer.
  4. Bake mushrooms for approximately 15 minutes. Check the around the 12-minute mark. They are not heavily coated with oil and can burn if you’re not careful.
  5. While mushrooms are in the oven, cook onions and jalapeno. Warm a medium-size skillet over medium heat. When the pan is heated, add the remaining olive oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add onion and jalapeno. Saute for 7-8 minutes, or until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  6. When mushrooms are done, add to the skillet with the onions and jalapeno. Mix well. Return pan to medium heat, and once warm, add orange juice, orange zest, and Worcestershire sauce. Saute until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3-4 minutes.
  7. While the mushrooms are cooking, warm a well-oiled comal or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. You can also lightly spray the tortillas with spray oil. Add tortillas and cook until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  8. While the mushrooms are done, remove them from heat.
  9. Fill each taco with carnitas, and garnish with your favorite salsa, onion, avocado, and vegan feta!
  10. Enjoy!

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Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi with Cashew Béchamel

Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi with Cashew Béchamel

Gnocchi is an Italian pasta made from potatoes. I love gnocchi, it’s so yummy, and there are some delicious freshly pre-made packages out there! Be sure to check, though, because some varieties do contain eggs. There are so many ways you can make it, too. In the spring, I love making it with fresh basil pesto and toasted pine nuts!

This savory mushroom and spinach version is simmered in a rich and creamy Cashew Béchamel! It is a perfect weeknight meal taking only 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients! Yup! Folks will think you spent all afternoon on it! I won’t tell if you won’t! 😉 I will be working on a simple, from-scratch sweet potato gnocchi in the next week, so stay tuned!


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Spinach and Mushroom Gnocchi with Cashew Béchamel

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 oz pack of organic Crimini mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, julienned
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 oz spinach
  • 1 package of fresh Italian Gnocchi
  • 1 teaspoon each dried parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Add cashews to a sauce pan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. 
  2. While cashews are boiling, clean mushrooms and cut into 1/2 slices.
  3. Peel and slice onion in half widthwise, and then Julienne. 
  4. Peel garlic clove, crush with the back of a knife and mince.
  5. Warm skillet over medium heat. When warm, add oil. When the oil has warmed to a shimmer, add onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add sage, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté until mushrooms have softened and onions are translucent. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
  6. In a medium saucepan, add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until gnocchi begins to float, about 3-5 minutes. 
  7. While the gnocchi is cooking, add cooked cashews to a blender with 1 1/4 cup water. Add garlic powder and salt. Blend until smooth. 
  8. When gnocchi is done, drain water and add to onion/mushroom mixture, add cashew béchamel sauce. Simmer over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken.  Taste for seasoning.  
  9. Serve warm!  
  10. Garnish with fresh parsley and vegan parmesan. 

Cherry Smoked Portobello Mushrooms with a Marchand de Vin Sauce

Cherry Smoked Portobello Mushrooms with a Marchand de Vin Sauce

I am in love mushrooms, but my favorite mushrooms are big juicy portobellos. Add in some thyme, red wine, and onions, and I’m all yours.

When immature and white, this mushroom may be known as common mushroom, white mushroom  button mushroom, cultivated mushroom, table mushroom, and champignon mushroom. When immature and brown, it may be known variously as Swiss brown mushroom, Roman brown mushroom, Italian brown mushroom, cremini/crimini mushroom, chestnut mushroom, and baby bella.

When marketed in its mature state, the mushroom is brown with a cap measuring 4–6 inches. This form is commonly sold under the names portobello mushroom, portabella mushroom, and portobella mushroom. Thank you, Wikipedia.  Who knew? 

I wanted to add a portobello mushroom recipe to my cookbook but lamented on the best way to prepare them. I got out my handy dandy cast iron, but then I remembered that I had my little-used  Cameron stovetop smoker. Within minutes I had fired up my gas stove, added some portobello mushroom caps and cherry wood chips, and 25 minutes later, I was floating in mushroom heaven. And no worries if you don’t have a smoker. If you have a medium pot with a lid, a steamer basket, some foil, and some wood chips, you’re set! Just so you know, there may not be a lot of variety, but you can buy wood chips at almost any grocery store. 

Finally, I went back and forth between topping it with a simple red wine sauce, or a cabernet demi-glace, aka a Marchand de Vin Sauce. I opted for the latter. It didn’t disappoint, either. With just a tang of the sherry vinegar marinade shining through the cherry wood’s mild and fruity smoke, it was the perfect balance of flavor. I didn’t make my own demi-glace, but you certainly can. I will work on that recipe next!


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Cherry Smoked Portobello Mushrooms with Cabernet Demi-Glace

  • Author: Stephanie Bosch

Description

The key to this recipe is the marinade.  Mushrooms are highly porous so you don’t need to marinade them long.  I also use a great mushroom brush to remove any dirt.  


Ingredients

Scale
  • 45 Portobello mushroom caps, brushed with stems removed.

For the Marinade: 

  • 1/3 cup dry sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoke paprika
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp steak sauce (I like this one)

Red Wine Demi-Glace:

  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • One bouquet garni made from 1 celery stalk, 2 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 fresh parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf * (see note section)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock  
  • 1/4 cup classic roasted vegetable demi-glace
  • 1/2 cup cabernet sauvignon 
  • 1 tsp salt kosher
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper ground

Instructions

Marinade:

Whisk marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Add mushrooms to a shallow baking dish or a gallon size ziplock bag and top with marinade. Set aside and allow to marinate for 30 minutes. 

While mushrooms are marinating, make the demi-glace. 

  1. Warm a medium-size sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add butter. When butter begins to foam, add shallots, salt, and white pepper and bouquet garni. Sauté until shallots have softened, about 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Add vegetable stock, demi-glace, and wine. 
  4. Stir well and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the stock has reduced by half, about 20 minutes. 

Mushrooms:

  1. If using a smoker, add wood chips to the bottom of the smoker. If using a pan to smoke, jump down to the notes section. 
  2. Place the drip tray on top of the wood chips inside the smoker base. Spraying the tray with non-stick vegetable spray, or place a sheet of aluminum foil to make for easier clean-up.
  3. Place the wire rack on top of the drip tray. Remove mushrooms from the marinade and arrange them on the wire rack. Slide lid closed.
  4. Smoke for 20 minutes over medium heat. 
  5. Remove bouquet from demi-glace and taste for seasoning. Carefully remove mushrooms from the smoker and transfer them to a cutting board.
  6. Slice mushrooms into 1/2″ slices. Plate the mushrooms and spoon 3-4 Tbsp’s of demi-glace over the top.  
  7. Enjoy! 

Notes

Never wash mushrooms with water! They are like a sponge and soak up water lowering the flavor. People think it’s dirt that’s on them, but it’s peat moss, and it’s all pasteurized. Portobello’s are usually pretty clean, but I use a mushroom brush for other types.

A bouquet garni is simple to make.  Place herbs together in a small stack and tie stems together with a short bit of kitchen twine.  Tie it tightly, as the herbs will shrink as they cook.  

If pan smoking:

Place a double layer of foil in the bottom of a medium pot. Place wood chips on top, in a little mound. Place strainer basket over top. Place mushrooms in the strainer basket.

Place the pot on the stove and turn to medium high or high heat. Leave uncovered until you see smoke.  When you see smoke, tightly cover. Wait 30 seconds, then turn heat to medium.