Mmmmmm…mushrooms

Some of the work I’ve been doing during my three-week community dietetics practice experience rotation has involved mushrooms. I love mushrooms, so it hasn’t exactly been a burden…except for when it makes me hungry and lunch (or dinner) is a ways away. 

I’ve loved mushrooms ever since I was a wee child, which surprised my father because he didn’t like them until after he met my mother (who was also an early adopter of mushrooms). If forced to choose my three favorite ways to enjoy mushrooms… 
  • As an accompaniment to beef bourguignon (the Julia Child recipe, of course)  
  • Tossed with olive oil and a little salt and roasted (quartered if large, whole if tiny) 
  • In the world’s best egg salad recipe ever  

Mushrooms have a wonderful, dense, almost meaty texture that makes them a natural partner for meat, or a valuable component of a meatless meal. The humble crimini (aka white button) mushroom is classified as an excellent source of selenium, potassium, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B2, panothenic acid and niacin. They are a very good source of vitamin B1 and B6, zinc and manganese. They are a good source of choline, folate and…wait for it…protein! And to think that these cute little tasty morsels were once considered to be devoid of nutrients because they weren’t bright and colorful! 

There are phytochemicals (natural plant compounds) in mushrooms that have been found to have immune-system supporting and anti-tumor properties. They may also contribute to heart health, in part due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Choline and folate are both important for preventing neural tube defects in fetuses during pregnancy. 
So that’s the nutrition. Let’s get back to the eating. How else do I love mushrooms? In scrambled eggs and omelets. In pasta sauce. In stroganoff. Grilled on a skewer. In my fabulous sourdough-and-artichoke heart Thanksgiving turkey stuffing. On pizza. Sauteed and served atop a nice grilled grassfed steak or burger. 
Yeah, about that last part. Last Friday, we had burgers on the menu. We had a bag of mushrooms in the fridge from our Full Circle delivery. I decided to throw caution to the wind and put the mushrooms in the burgers instead of on top of the burgers. I was also feeling too lazy to get a saute pan dirty (just being honest). We were quite pleased with the results of our little experiment. The burgers were moist and savory and delicious. Here’s what we did: 
I roughly chopped about 1/4 pound of mushrooms. I was aiming for pieces of about 1/4″ diameter. In a bowl, Jeff mixed them into one pound of grassfed ground beef and seasoned with a little salt, pepper and granulated garlic. At the end, he added one egg because he felt that the mixture needed a little something to help it hold together. It worked beautifully.