It may not be shocking to hear that I’ve enjoyed chicken marsala many times before, but it certainly won’t be shocking to hear that I’ve always picked around the mushrooms. Picky eaters don’t eat dinner without flicking something off the plate, after all.
But I decided tonight would be different. That’s why I made NYT Cooking’s chicken marsala with both shiitake and white mushrooms for dinner. It’s important to note that I did once, many years ago, try a grilled portabello mushroom: I told my mom that it tasted like steak, she said no it didn’t, so I never ate it again. Way to go, ma.
Now, before we get into tonight’s final product, I have three important takeaways on mushrooms:
- Mushrooms are extremely annoying to clean.
- They are also extremely satisfying to slice.
- I may have went overboard on the mushrooms.
Not wanting to repeat my mistake from last week (when I only bought one measly pepper for my shichimi togarashi experiment), I foraged (from a grocery store bin) an abundance of mushrooms. A truly wild move for a meal being served to two mushroom-haters.
Not only did this leave me with a shiit-ton of mushrooms (see what I did there?), but it also had an effect on the meal itself. Given their sponge-like nature, the mushrooms wound up soaking up the majority of my marsala sauce. Not a big deal….as long as you eat the mushrooms.
Which brings me to the final tasting. My marsala sauce turned into more of a shroom stew, forcing me to eat the mushrooms, lest I just eat plain pan-fried chicken for dinner (been there, done that).
I know that the prevailing opinion on mushrooms (for people who don’t like them) is that the texture is gummy and gross. Well, being forced to eat the mushrooms if I wanted any sauce turned out to be a happy accident because with each forkful, their texture was masked by that of the oh-so-familiar chicken thighs.
I did eat one mushroom on its own for the sake of the blog (the things I do for you), and honestly, it wasn’t bad at all. I didn’t do it more than once, but it wasn’t bad.
Also, I don’t know if mushrooms are meant to have a strong flavor, but these mushrooms tasted like shallots, marsala wine, and chicken stock, which turned out to be a very good thing. Paired with the chicken (and green beans on the side), I thoroughly enjoyed them!
Did I eat the 20 pounds that I bought and cooked? Hell no—too much too soon. But I enjoyed what I ate, and that’s a big enough step for me!
I also made the same mistake I made with kale a few weeks ago: I didn’t think to save a white mushroom to try raw. And I definitely had a mushroom or two to spare, so that was a big miss.
Did I miss out on raw mushrooms, or is cooked the way to go? Got any other mushroom varieties (no drugs, sickos!) that are worth trying? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram @thepickyeaterchronicles! Given that my boyfriend is still not a fan, I can’t promise I’ll cook them again soon, but I might not ignore every menu item that mentions mushrooms anymore!