Quick Bite: Wild Mushrooms

Not so long ago, the wild mushroom selection in supermarkets was pretty slim, but today, depending on the season and the store, fresh shiitake, oyster and maitake mushrooms are plentiful.

Wild mushrooms are no only sumptuous, but they contain numerous health-giving properties:

Contain lentinon, component strengthens the immune system
Lower cholesterol
Helps to reduce blood pressure
Anti-tumoric –helps prevent recurrence of tumors

Try the easy Wild Mushroom and Chicken casserole (from my new book) and


Wild Mushroom and Chicken Casserole

6 servings

Supermarkets now offer a wide variety of mushrooms, especially in the fall and winter. With just a few basic ingredients like mushrooms, chicken, onions, chicken broth and spinach, you can make a hearty, satisfying, and healthy meal-in-one pot.

3/4  pound assorted wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, oyster, and crimini)
2  medium white onions, peeled
1 1/2  tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup rice wine or sake
3/4 cup chicken broth, preferably low-sodium
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1  6-ounce bag baby spinach

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut away and discard the stems of the shiitakes. Trim the stems of the other mushrooms. Cut the caps into thin slices. Cut the onions in half and cut into thin slices.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy casserole with a lid over medium-high heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Arrange the chicken pieces,  in the pan and cook until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

3. Reheat the casserole and the remaining tablespoon of the oil until hot. Add the onions, stir for about a minute and a half over medium-high heat, partially cover and cook until they become soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 2 minutes. Partially cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the chicken pieces to the casserole along with the rice wine, chicken broth, soy sauce and black pepper. Stir gently to mix and coat the chicken with the onion-mushroom mixture. Cover and bake about 25 minutes until tender. Add the spinach and stir together. Cover and bake an additional 5 minutes. Remove and serve with rice or another whole grain.

Roasted Ratatouille

The simple technique of roasting accentuates the natural and delicious flavor of vegetables. I like to vary the vegetables in this dish, using fall or winter root vegetables like pumpkin or sweet potato, eggplant or fennel. The dish is especially good served over couscous or rice.

3 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed
1 medium eggplant, stem trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 orange bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 yellow bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 large red onion, peeled and ends trimmed
1 pound cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, stems trimmed, rinsed and blotted dry, about 7     to  8
2 teaspoons oregano
1¼ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Cut the zucchini eggplant, bell peppers and onion into 1-inch dice.
2. Put the cut vegetables and cherry tomatoes in a roasting pan, pour in the olive oil, garlic, tear the basil leaves and add along with the oregano, salt and pepper. Toss lightly to coat and spread out in a single layer.
3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the vegetables are brown at the edges and very tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.

Serves 6
© Copyright Nina Simonds 2008

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.