Cazuela De Hongos (Casserole of Woodland Mushrooms with Chile Ancho and Epazote)

Joined Mar 11, 2007
5 ripe, medium-size (10-12 oz. total) plum tomatoes
1 large chile ancho, stemmed and seeded
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 canned chile chipotle en adobo
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon good quality pork lard or vegetable oil
3 cups rich beef broth
1 pound mixed woodland mushrooms (shiitake, morel, oyster, lobster, chanterelle, etc.), cut into thick slices
1/3 cup live oil
3 large (about 1 1/2 pounds) red onions, cut into thick rounds
1/2 cup chopped epazote
salt to taste



For the sauce:

  1. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and set 4 inches below a preheated broiler. When blackened and blistered (about 5-7 minutes), turn the tomatoes over and broil the other side. Cool and peel.
  2. Toast the chile in the broiler (also on a baking sheet), and press it flat with a metal spatula until it crackles and blisters flip it over and toast the other side. Then remove it and in a small bowl cover it with boiling water, and let it soak for 30 minutes, then drain.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, drained chile ancho, chile chipotle and oregano in a blender. Blend until smooth, then strain through a medium-mesh sieve. This will be the base of the epazote sauce.
  4. Next heat the lard or vegetable oil in a large deep skillet or earthenware casserole dish (cazuela) over medium-high heat). Add the blended sauce and boil quickly, stirring constantly. Cook it until it has reduced and become thick. As the final step to the sauce add the broth and simmer for 1/2 hour.
  5. For the mushrooms and onions preheat grill. Toss the mushrooms with half of the olive oil. Grill the mushrooms until slightly softened (or if you don't have a grill then sauté them over medium-high heat in small batches). Coat the onion slices with remaining olive oil and grill (or sauté) until slightly softened.
  6. To finish the dish, add mushrooms, onions (you can break them up into individual rings) to epazote sauce and simmer about 10 minutes to blend flavors. Season with salt. Serve with warm tortillas.

Yield: 4 - 6 servings
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