Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Marinated Mushrooms with Red Wine and Fennel (a holiday appetizer)

I love Thanksgiving. Yum, yum, yum.

When I lived in the United States I celebrated Thanksgiving twice. Because I am Canadian I did our Canadian Thanksgiving in October. And then I did another Thanksgiving at the end of November. I love having friends over for dinner, sharing food and friendship.

 Over the next few days I am going to feature some of my favourite Thanksgiving recipes. I think the key to saving money over the holidays is to make things from scratch as much as possible... cranberry sauce, stuffing, rolls, pie crusts, and sides. The other thing is to use seasonal ingredients.  And there's nothing wrong with organizing a potluck, especially if your friends are all as frugal as you.

There's not much you can do to save money on a turkey, I don't think, except to keep a good eye on the sales flyers and nab one when they come on sale. Prices vary widely. Last year I helped out our local food bank at the big supermarket near me. Yes, that was me, dressed up like a turkey asking people to buy and donate a turkey to a family in need. The supermarket did it's part by marking turkeys down to half price. I texted everyone I knew and told them to get down there and pick up their holiday turkeys!! Here's one of my favourite special occasion appetizer recipes:

Prepare the day before or early in the morning to allow mushrooms to marinate properly.

1 T olive oil
1 1/2 pounds small to medium-sized fresh mushrooms, stems removed (reserve for another use) and wiped clean
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced into thin rings
4 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 T fennel seeds
1 T dried basil
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 cup canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 cup hearty red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
chopped Italian parsley (garnish - optional)

1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Salt and pepper the mushrooms, and cook further, for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon and reserve.

2. Cook the onion and garlic in the oil remaining in the pan over low heat for 15 minutes. Onions should still have some "crunch."

3. Add fennel seeds, basil and marjoram and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add tomatoes, wine and vinegar to the pan, season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until slightly reduced.

5. Return mushrooms to the pan, simmer for 5 minutes, and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, then cover and refrigerate. Marinate for at least 24 hours before serving.

6. Sprinkle heavily with chopped fresh parsley before serving.
 Present the mushrooms in a bowl surrounded by squares of black bread, spread, if you like, with butter and sprinkled with parsley.

Scoop the mushrooms onto the bread squares and enjoy.

Image Credit
Flower arrangement photo by Thomas Hawk, Flickr


  1. kristy, these are SO yummy. my friends would always ask me to make them.... phrased in a question... "will we be having mushrooms this year...??" :-)


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