Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mushroom Medley Burger with Feta and Herbs

Every now and then, while perusing my local grocery store, and usually while feeling totally unispired, I will come across something that totally sets my wheels in motion. What starts out as a mundane venture turns into a sudden surge of possibilities. A furry of ingredients leap into my basket, piling up into precarious positions; bags are flying; produce is being squeezed; and I can hardly keep up with my own train of thought.

I appreciate moments like that because they remind me of why I love cooking so much - that spark of an idea that gets ignited into something I can share with the people I love.

That is exactly what happened when I got the idea for this burger. I came across a package of fresh herbs, diced onions, and cheese intended for topping a steak, and instantly the mushroom medley burger unfolded in mind. I picked up some fresh herbs, two kinds of onions, crimini and oyster mushrooms, and some delicious onion rolls; I couldn't wait to get back and start cooking!


Getting Started


As usual, start by preparing, chopping and measuring your ingredients. When cleaning the mushrooms, make sure to use a damp cloth and avoid getting them too wet. They are already pretty moist and the excess water makes them turn out weird (that's my technical term).

I decided to use the addition of oyster mushrooms this time because 1) they actually had them at the new store I've been going to, 2) they were way cheaper than the shitake mushrooms I usually buy, and 3) they just looked so darn cool! I mean, look at them down there all twisted and curled, gills bursting like the hairy chests of the mushroom world! I just couldn't resist.

I had never tasted or prepared them before, however, so I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. A quick google search revealed that it's best to remove the stems because of their toughness. You can either throw the stems in earlier than the rest of the mushroom so they can cook longer, or toss them all together, which is what I chose to do.

It wasn't as clear to me where the stems stopped and the caps started, so I just cut off anything that felt really hard; that seemed to do the trick. I really loved the addition of these mushrooms, which were really mild and soft despite their mushroom bravado, and I think you will too if you can find them. Just make sure to inspect the gills for dirt and little bugs hitching a ride! If you can't find them you can use a different kind of mushroom or more of the crimini.

After you have all your ingredients prepared, saute the onions in the olive oil over medium heat. Let them start to wilt a little (2-3 minutes) then add in the crimini mushrooms. Cook for a few more minutes, letting the mushrooms brown a little, then add the garlic, fresh herbs, and oyster mushrooms. Give it another couple of minutes then add in the butter and salt. I wait until nearly the end to add the butter and salt because I've been told it changes the way the mushrooms cook. I don't know how true this is, but I don't want to chance it!


While your veggies are cooking, heat up your favorite prepackaged veggie burgers (I've tried Boca and MorningStar and like both), and toast your rolls. I add a little light butter or mayo to each side of the bun and brown them in a skillet. If you can't find a similarly flavored bun or roll, kaiser rolls make a great substitute.

Wrapping it Up


Once everything is done, assemble your delicious burgers, add a good amount of feta on top, and enjoy! Definitely one of my favorite recipes so far; I love the savory of the onions, mushrooms, and herbs with the punch of the melted feta. So good! I think this mushroom medley would be really great on other things as well - I'm thinking pizza toppings, veggie brats, added to baked potatoes. So many new ideas.


Ingredients


¼ large yellow onion, cut into slices
¼ med red onion, cut into slices4-6 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 package of oyster mushrooms, stems removed½-1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
½-1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 premade veggie patties (like Boca or MorningStar)
2 onion or Kaiser rolls
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
Salt to taste
Feta cheese for topping

Servings: 2-3



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