Saturday, November 12, 2011

Candycap Mushrooms - Conquered!

Okay, I'll admit it. I lurk the Marx Foods website looking for interesting opportunities. Every now and then there are samples being given away or there are contests with spiffy prizes.

When I saw a contest that required using dried candycap mushrooms, of course I asked to get into the contest. I love mushrooms. And I'd never had candycaps. As a matter of fact, I'd never heard of candycap mushrooms before the contest was announced.

The description said they were sweet, they smelled like maple, and some people used them for sweet dishes as well as savory.

I expected the maple scent to be subtle, but when I opened the package it was was pretty strong. I left the package sitting on the counter while I contemplated my options.

Every time I walked past it, I got a strong whiff of maple. It was pretty amazing, considering the mushrooms were in a sealed plastic bag.

Maple and mushrooms ... what would they pair with? How about this?

Candycap Crusted Rack of Pork
with squash and apple barley

For the pork:
1 rack of pork - 4 ribs - 3-4 pounds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup* candycap mushrooms, buzzed in a spice grinder to a powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar

For the barley:
3/4 cup barley
1 1/2  cups water
1 cup cooked winter squash, mashed
1/4 of a large onion, diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter

To make the pork:
Bring the pork out of the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the pork on a baking sheet and sprinkle it with the salt. Coat the pork with the mushroom powder, putting most of it on the top, as much as you can get to stick. Sprinkle with the sugar.

Roast the pork roast at 325 until it reads 155 degrees in the center - about 20 minutes per pound.

Let the roast rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing. You can serve the roast sliced in thin slices or as several thicker chops.

To make the barley:
Place all ingredients in your rice cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on brown rice setting. Stir again when the barley is done cooking. If you prefer, you can cook the barley on the stovetop, but if you have a rice cooker, it makes it a bit easier.

Serve the barley alongside the pork.

*I didn't measure the mushrooms before I powdered them, but 1/4 cup is a good estimate.

Disclaimer: Marx Foods provided a sample of candycap mushrooms for the bloggers in this contest.


Anonymous said...

I too had never heard of Candy Cap 'shrooms. I'll inquire. That slab of Pork Rack looks GRAND. Yup, the 'Prime Rib' of pork. Add a souce for fatty, tasty Berkshire pork and Heaven arrives early. Just to tease a little, my property is loaded with Chanterelles this time of year. They do not agree with me. Swearing them to secrecy, I invite a small, select group of friends to harvest them for sale. Our local buyer/shipper has paid my most efficient picker almost $2500 so far this season. (Shhh!) I take no cut, patrol to discourage trespassers and often talk with the buyer, a good friend. With the first serious freeze, they are gone until next year. Great post and an even better method. I'll be asking my butcher for that bone-in rack. Heck yes! -Craig

Anonymous said...

Addendum: The Pork Rack looks simply grand. It is a cut rarely seen. If I had to explain it to my butcher, I'd call it a Standing Rib Roast of Pork, or Pork Prime Rib. Is there are more correct term? I just have to try a roast like this. Best-guess is that I have it cut just like a beef rib roast: Chine bone off (or??), Meat freed from ribs and tied back, all for easier serving. Am I missing anything? Thanks, -Craig

Donna Currie said...

Craig - this is similar to the cut you'd get if you said you wanted to make a crown roast of pork, but in that case the ends of the bones would be cleaned off. This was a rack of Berkshire pork, but I don't know if that makes any difference. It is, basically, the prime rib of pork.

Becky McNeer said...

Yum! This looks incredible! Not Your Ordinary Recipes

Karen | Divine Dinner Party said...

I'll ask my favorite butcher to have this on top of my weekly meat supply. Great post!

Sherri M said...

Sounds delicious. How did the taste go? Was it very sweet or did the earthiness of the mushrooms come out at all?

Anonymous said...

This looks great! I'm doing a contest right now with Marx food too! Congrats on winning!

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