Mixed mushroom ‘braai’ a challenge for the ‘wine’ taste buds

Low in calories and fat, and cholesterol-free, mushrooms contain a modest amount of fibre and over a dozen minerals and vitamins, including copper, potassium, magnesium, zinc and a number of B vitamins such as folate. And they make a wonderful meal on their own.

But there’s additional good news for South Africans who enjoy a traditional braai. Yep, you can even prepare a mushroom dish over coals … and with a glass of your favourite wine in one hand.

Here’s a recipe for a “mixed mushroom braai” courtesy of the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.

Ingredients:

100g Baby button mushrooms

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

1 tbsp lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

Salt and pepper

200g Portabellini mushrooms

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp dried pregano

Salt and pepper

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp smoked paprika

100g White button mushrooms

3 bell peppers (red, yellow and green)

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

450g assorted bell peppers

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

Tomato & Onion Gravy

2 tbsp olive oil

2 red onions, halved and sliced

1 tin chopped tomatoes

500g very ripe tomatoes (can be a mix)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, parsley, oregano and thyme work well

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

Prepare your braai and allow coals or wood to burn down, or preheat a gas braai on medium.

Baby button kebabs:

In a bowl, combine the baby button mushrooms along with the olive oil, the dried mixed herbs, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat and allow to marinade for about 30 minutes. Thread 4 to 5 baby buttons onto small skewers. Braai them on medium hot heat for 7 to 10 min.

Grilled whole portabellos and portabellinis:

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, chilli flakes, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss to coat well. Braai mushrooms top down to start, then flip after 5 to 7 min and continue to cook until the mushrooms are just becoming tender.

Grilled white button and portabellini kebabs:

Cut the bell peppers into 3 cm square pieces. On a long kebab, stick alternate between white buttons, portebellinis and bell peppers. With a pastry brush, generously brush each kebab with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on the braai, turning the kebabs a quarter turn every 2 to 3 min. Cook until the mushrooms begin to get tender and the peppers begin to pick up color on their edges.

Braaied peppers:

Brush the peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a hot braai and cook until the peppers are slightly blistered on all sides.

Tomato and onion gravy:

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the onions until tender. Add all the ingredients to the pot and allow the sauce to simmer for at least an hour.

Place all components on a board and serve with a side salad, fresh bread or pap.

Now for the challenge! Which wine would you have with this meal? Be adventurous and try various wines until you find the one (or more) that hits the sweet spot. Look at full-bodied whites or light to medium-bodied reds, or even a good rosé with backbone.

Cheers!

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