Friday, March 1, 2013

Porcini Salt from The Little Things

Recently, while making Lamb Osso Bucco with Wild Porcini and Fennel, I needed a porcini salt blend.  The recipe called for a Williams Sonoma Wild Porcini Mushroom Salt.  I went ahead and go the Williams Sonoma blend which costs 14.95.  I did a little research and found this recipe  for a porcini salt from a blog called The Little Things  and wondered if it could be a good substitute if the Williams Sonoma blend is too pricey for your budget or you don't have a Williams Sonoma store in your area.  What could be better than being able to make your own blend?      

After gathering my ingredients, I pulled out my mini-chopper.  

I decided to use kosher salt instead of sea salt.  I only had one package of dried mushrooms, so I made half batch of the recipe.  

I added the mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of kosher salt to the mini-chopper.  

I put the lid on and processed the mushrooms until it was ground fine and had an even consistency.

Be prepared for your chopper to kick up some mushroom dust while you're processing.  

I used a paper towel and a spice funnel to fill a spice jar with the porcini salt for air tight storage.  

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  I purchased the dried mushrooms at Whole Foods for $6.99 for a package.  I haven't looked for dried mushrooms at my "big box" grocery store.  The next time I'm there I'll check.  

Preparation Time:  It took me less than 5 minutes to prepare this recipe.  

Clean up:  Minimal.  My mini-chopper components went into the dishwasher. 

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs up!  Of course, I've not tested it in the Osso Bucco, but this is a versatile blend that you can use on anything from vegetables to beef.  To give this blend a test run, I made up a little recipe that I'll call Skillet Porcini Chicken (see recipe below).  The blend added a nice earthy flavor to the chicken and vegetables and wasn't overly salty.  I'm glad to have this new blend in my spice rack.       

I love Nom Nom Paleo and she has a Magic Mushroom Powder recipe that is only available on her ipad app which she has described "mixture of dried porcini mushroom powder, salt, and herbs."  You could use this  blend as a stop gap for that flavor if you don't have an ipad, like me, or until she releases that gem of a recipe more widely and/or in other formats.  

Bonus Original Recipe:  Skillet Porcini Chicken

After making the porcini salt, I needed to test it out.  I decided to make a simple skillet meal on a weeknight after a long day at work. 


1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
1/2 medium sized onion, diced (I used yellow but any will due)
1.5 cups baby carrots cut in half lengthwise (or peeled carrots in 1.5 inch slices cut in half lengthwise)
1 crown broccoli cut into florets
3 cloves garlic minced (I used a garlic press)
3 T Porcini Salt (divided 2 T for the chicken & 1 T for the veggies)
1/8 cup vegetable broth
1 T Grass-fed butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.  Trim the excess fat from the chicken thighs and slice them into strips and put them into a medium sized bowl.  

2.  Add 2 T of the porcini salt to the bowl and mix it in with the chicken until its well coated with the spice blend.  I used my clean hands to quickly get things mixed together. 

3. Cut 1.5 cups of baby carrots in half lengthwise or peel 1.5 cups (probably 6-7 average sized carrots) of carrots and cut them into 2 inch pieces and then cut them lengthwise.

4.  Heat a 12 inch non-stick skillet on medium high.  If you have a skillet with a lid, that is preferable.  5.  Dice 1/2 of a medium sized onion.  Any onion will do.  I had 1/2 a  yellow onion I needed to use, so I did. 


6.  Add the onion the heated skillet, stirring it occasionally while it softens (2-3 minutes).

7.  After the onion has softened, add the carrots to the pan.  I then minced the 3 cloves of garlic using my press directly over the pan.  Let these ingredients cook for about 2 minutes stirring occasionally.  The pan will be on the dry side, but don't worry about it.  

8.  Add the chicken to the pan and stir everything around well focusing on getting the chicken in contact with the pan so it will brown and cook.  

9.  After about 2-3 minutes, add 1/8 cup of vegetable broth to the pan, stir everything well and put the lid on for 1-2 minutes.  If you think your pan needs more or less broth, adjust the 1/8 measurement using your cooking intuition.  Yes, you have cooking intuition.  

10.  After 2-3 minutes, I removed the lid and added the broccoli.  I gave the pan a good stir and put the lid back on. 

11.  After about 2 minutes, I removed the lid and added 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan.  I stirred everything around to spread the butter through out the dish.  

12.  I then sprinkled another tablespoon of the porcini salt over the entire dish and mixed it in well.

Here is the finished dish.  

And my plate. 

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find all of the ingredients but for the porcini salt at your "big box" grocery store pretty inexpensively.  The porcini salt, you'll need to make yourself.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:  The total preparation and cooking time for this recipe was 28 minutes. You know I was feeling pretty lazy the night I made this as I used baby carrots.  If you peel regular carrots you'll need to add a minute or two to your time. 

Clean Up:  Everything except my wooden spoon and skillet went into the dishwasher.  It took me less than 7 minutes to clean everything up.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs up!  I made this recipe up as a means of testing our the porcini salt, so I used that as my main seasoning.  The porcini salt added a earthy flavor to the chicken and vegetables.  Mushroom powders are often used as a thickening agents.  While there really isn't a sauce created with this recipe, the porcini salt is absorbed by the butter and broth that coats the veggies and chicken well.  Before tasting the dish, I didn't add any additional salt outside of the porcini salt.  Upon tasting, it was not nearly as salty as I thought it would be and really needed a little salt.  This might be attributable to the fact that I used kosher salt instead of sea salt when I made this batch of porcini salt.  It was good to know that a fair amount of the porcini salt would not result in a salt laden dish.  

As with any skillet dish, you can add a little more broccoli or  carrots or really any vegetable that you wish to suit your fancy.  The next time I make this I will spice it up with some red pepper flakes and add another crown of broccoli.  

I wasn't in the mood to cook, but in less than 30 minutes, I had a tasty dinner and lunch for the next day prepared.  If you've made some porcini salt or have a blend already on hand, give this dish a try.