- Oil for sautéing (we use olive oil)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped or crushed (whichever is easier for you. And use more garlic if you like garlic)
- 1 large onion (about 2 cups chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, washed and then chopped
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms, also washed and then chopped (Or use one pound, total, of whatever mushrooms you like)
- 1 teaspoon thyme (dried or fresh)
We use this savory compote in a myriad of ways – it’s a fabulous polenta topping, omelet filling, bruschetta spread, pizza addition and last-minute hors d’ oeuvre when paired with crackers (particularly herbed crackers). But that’s just the start. We stir it into mascarpone to make a creamy pasta sauce, add it to macaroni and cheese to add a punch of earthiness and stir it into eggs and cream to make a light tart. For a gluten-free option, top a bowl of quinoa with it. It’s one of our cooking staples.
The best part is that it’s easy and will hold in the fridge for several days and in the freezer for much longer. We hope you like it as much as we do.
The secret to the mix is to cook the living daylights out of the mushrooms – When done, it should be a thick and jammy and the onions and mushrooms almost unrecognizable. This requires a relatively long cooking time (at least 45 minutes, depending on how finely you’ve chopped the ingredients and how large your pan is – and possibly closer to an hour).
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet (the larger the skillet, the faster all the liquid in the mushrooms and onions will evaporate and the faster you’ll get on to browning). This is one of those recipes where you want browning in the pan, so a regular pan is better than nonstick.
2. Add the garlic, onions and salt to the pan and cook for about five minutes, until the onions start to sweat.
3. Then add the thyme and the mushrooms. Since this recipe is all about cooking the heck out of the mushrooms, the idea here is to take advantage of the water exuded from the onions to help the mushrooms steam, which breaks them down without burning them or needing too much oil.
A side note on washing mushrooms – there’s a fair amount of controversy about whether washing mushrooms causes them to absorb water and food ruin their texture. For this recipe, texture is irrelevant (the mushrooms get cooked to oblivion) and all the water is all sautéed out, so wash without concern.
4. Cook, as noted above, for at least 45 minutes, and probably closer to 50-60 minutes. Stir fairly frequently in the beginning (every couple of minutes), so that all the onions and mushrooms cook evenly. Over time, the volume of the mix will shrink considerably and less stirring will be needed. Toward the end, you’ll want to start stirring again every couple of minutes. Every time you stir it, use the mixture, which will still be somewhat wet, to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. We use a heatproof silicone spatula to get up all the browned goodness.
5. At the end, once the mixture reaches a jammy consistency. there will be almost no moisture left in the mixture, but some browned bits will still be stuck to the bottom of the pan. (Impress your friends by calling this browned stuff on the bottom “fond”). Put a tablespoon of water in the pan (or use a dry white wine or vermouth for an added kick of flavor) and use your spatula to scrape up the browned bits and return this flavor back into the mix. Once the added water/wine has evaporated, the mix is done. Enjoy!
Makes about two cups.