Say hello to the ver­sa­tile, nu­tri­ent-packed mushroom

It has at­tributes more com­monly found in meat, beans and grains

Isis Town and Country - - Life - In­for­ma­tion and recipes cour­tesy www.aus­tralian­mush­rooms.com.au

MUSH­ROOMS are one of those un­der­rated veg­eta­bles of­ten re­garded with sus­pi­cion by those who don’t reg­u­larly cook with them but they are in fact the per­fect food for all ages. They are low in calo­ries, salt and sugar and are a valu­able source of di­etary fi­bre. In fact just a hand­ful of mush­rooms could dou­ble the fo­late in a spaghetti bolog­nese or boost the vitamin D in a stir fry. “Many Aus­tralians don’t reach their recommended in­takes for key vi­ta­mins and min­er­als and just one in 25 eat the recommended five serves of veg­eta­bles a day,” said Sharon Na­toli, a di­eti­cian with Food and Nu­tri­tion Australia. “By sim­ply adding a hand­ful of mushies – whole, chopped or blended – into a din­ner time sta­ple, Aus­tralians can quickly and tastily reap the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits.’’ The nu­tri­tion pro­file of mush­rooms is un­like any other plant or an­i­mal food. They are the only nat­u­ral, non-an­i­mal food to pro­vide nu­tri­tion­ally im­por­tant amounts of bio-avail­able vitamin D, im­por­tant for healthy bones and mus­cles. Mush­rooms are also an im­por­tant source of B vi­ta­mins for healthy nerve func­tion, fo­late for cell division and cru­cial dur­ing preg­nancy, potas­sium, an es­sen­tial elec­trolyte, and se­le­nium, an an­tiox­i­dant that helps pro­tect against free rad­i­cal dam­age. Not only do mush­rooms have an im­pres­sive nu­tri­tional pro­file, they also of­fer a unique taste that com­ple­ments many meats, veg­eta­bles and herbs. Called umami, this flavour is the fifth ba­sic taste, fol­low­ing sweet, salty, bit­ter and sour. Umami pairs per­fectly with meats

in­clud­ing beef, chicken and pork, and veg­eta­bles. Try th­ese meth­ods to en­joy more mush­rooms:

Blend – Sim­ply stir blitzed mush­rooms into dishes for added flavour and to give the kids a stealthy nu­tri­ent boost. Blended mushies can be used in place of mince for a sim­i­lar tex­ture.

Stir through – Mush­rooms are ver­sa­tile, mak­ing them the per­fect in­gre­di­ent to have on hand to bulk up a meal. Finely dice and spoon mush­rooms through a chilli con carne, sloppy joe, or vegie pasta bake to en­joy a flavour boost.

Chop – Mush­rooms are great at ab­sorb­ing the flavours of saucy meals. Sim­ply chop into 2cm pieces and sprin­kle into, or on top of, your favourite dishes.

Na­chos

The fra­grant flavour of harissa and the earthy flavour of mush­rooms com­bine to make this pork and mushroom na­chos a fam­ily favourite. Serves 4-6 In­gre­di­ents 200g of cup mush­rooms 2 porta­bella mush­rooms 1 tbs olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 2 gar­lic cloves, crushed 1 red cap­sicum, chopped 1 x 400g can corn, drained and rinsed ¼ cup tomato paste 1 tbs harissa 1 tsp ground co­rian­der 1 tbs brown sugar 1 tsp paprika 300g pork mince 300g corn chips 250g grated cheese 1 bunch co­rian­der, leaves picked 1 av­o­cado, stone re­moved, peeled Juice of 1 le­mon Sour cream to serve

Method

Place all mush­rooms in a food pro­ces­sor and blend to form a paste. Heat oil in a fry­ing pan over high heat. Add mushroom, onion, gar­lic, cap­sicum, corn, tomato paste, harissa, sugar and spices. Cook for 6 min­utes un­til soft­ened and be­gin­ning to caramelise. Add pork mince and use a spoon to break it up. Cook for a fur­ther 6 min­utes, stir­ring fre­quently un­til cooked through and mince is coated in sauce. Com­bine av­o­cado and le­mon juice in a bowl, us­ing a fork to mash to­gether. Sea­son and set aside. Pre­heat a grill on high. Place half the corn chips in an oven-safe dish, cover with a third of the cheese. Place un­der the grill for 3 min­utes. Add half the mince then layer with the re­main­ing corn chips and half the re­main­ing cheese. Grill for 3 min­utes. Fin­ish with re­main­ing mince and cheese and grill for 4 min­utes un­til golden and the cheese is melted. To serve, top cheesy na­chos with av­o­cado, co­rian­der leaves and sour cream.

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