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Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Mushroom Paprikash

I developed this recipe by reading several recipes on the web for both Veal Paprikash and Mushroom Paprikash. This is a good dish to prepare for a pot luck party where a vegetarian dish is required. This dish has a bit of hotness based on hot paprika and the hot pepper. You can adjust the hotness level by using more or less of those hot ingredients. If you want to avoid any hotness, avoid these two ingredients; perhaps substitute some non-hot green pepper. Traditionally, paprikash dishes are served over egg noodles, but this one also works over kasha. For a similar dish which is non-vegetarian, see my recipe for Chicken Paprikash.

start with one garlic bulb, but use about 1/3 of it
Make a horizontal cut through the bulb, yielding the bottom of a garlic bulb. Drip on olive oil and bake in a covered dish or in foil in a 300 degree oven, starting the oven cold, for one hour. Use a knife to remove the roasted partial garlic cloves and chop them. Set aside. Since you have cut most of the bulb, it would be best if you can make use of the rest of the garlic for other items you are cooking.

about 4 Tbl. salted butter
You will need enough to saute the veggies in the first step.

one large purple onion
Peel, quarter, and slice into medium slices.

1-2 celery stalks
At least at Roche Brothers in Acton, MA you can buy individual stalks in the produce area. Clean and dice into medium pieces.

1 hot green pepper, such as a thin Thai pepper or a jalapeno
Remove the stem and the seeds and dice into small pieces.

about 1/2 tsp. salt
Use more or less if desired.

18 oz. sliced portobello mushrooms
The brand I bought had 6 oz. packages. Cut each slice into 3 or 4 pieces; 4 pieces are good when the slice includes part of the stem; cut through the stem and then cut two pieces of about equal size.

about 8 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
I bought this in one package. No further preparation is needed with these slices.

4 Tbl. Hungarian Paprika, such as Szeged brand, which is available at Roche Bros. in Acton.
Do not use merely a generic paprika found in a spice isle. Hungarian paprika has the distinctive taste this dish needs.

1 tsp. Hot Hungarian Paprika, such as Szeged brand, which is available at Roche Bros. in Acton
This is similar to the previous ingredient, but has a kick. Use more of this is you want a particularly spicy version, but this recipe has a level of hotness which is adequate.

1/2 cup mushroom broth (optional)
You may have some left-over broth if you are using this for making kasha as an accompaniment.

One 14.5 oz. can of Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes with no salt and with onion/celery/green pepper; don't get the kind with oregano.
Once again, you can find this at least at Roche Bros. in Acton.

1/8 tsp. ground pepper, preferably freshly ground
Use more or less if desired.

1/2 cup of red wine
This is optional, but I think it makes the dish tastier.

1 to 1 1/2 cup Breakstone's Sour Cream; I do not use the low-fat kind, but it will probably work.
Stir this well before you add it in the recipe. If you want to thicken the sauce for this dish, you can add 2 Tbl. flour to the sour cream when you do this stirring.

  1. In a large pot for the stove, which can also be used for serving, melt the butter, and saute the celery, pepper, and onion along with the salt for 10-15 minutes, until these veggies are soft.

  2. Add the portobello mushroom pieces and stir for 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add both kinds of paprika, and stir for about one minute to cook it a bit.

  4. Add the stewed tomatoes, wine, black pepper, roasted garlic, crimini mushrooms, and optionally some broth. Simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes.

  5. Stir in the already stirred sour cream and thoroughly mix. This can be served immediately or reheated over low heat later.

You can serve this to be spooned over kasha or egg noodles. I prefer Pennsylvania Dutch Extra Wide Egg Noodles. If serving kasha, I recommend using 1 1/2 cups of the uncooked grains; for this amount, use 3 cups of broth. I have been satisfied with Wolff's brand of kasha, and I prefer the coarse granulation. Follow the instructions on the kasha box, including using an egg or two and sauteed onions. To keep the dishes vegetarian, use mushroom or vegetable broth instead of a more traditional meat-based broth. You can find mushroom broth in a 4-cup box, such as at Roche Bros. in Acton. Since there was some extra broth, I added some to the mushroom dish.

This is probably enough to serve as a main dish for at least 4 people. I used this successfully at a pot luck party of at least 20 people.

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