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Mix some magic into your meals with versatile mushrooms

Mix some magic into your meals with versatile mushrooms

Shrouded in mythical lore, mushrooms were at one time believed to bring fortune to those who happened upon them in the wild. Nutrition wise, there’s no mystery as to why mushrooms are a popular food choice among consumers.

While mushrooms vary in taste, most are naturally packed with antioxidants, fiber and several B vitamins like niacin and riboflavin. Nutrient-rich mushrooms also are a low-calorie and fat-free food, and may help prevent Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

According to statistics from the most recent Census of Agriculture, mushrooms were grown on 41 Virginia farms and generated about $760,000 in sales.

Because of mushrooms’ versatility—their high protein content lends itself well as a meat substitute in vegetarian diets and dishes—they’re easily incorporated into many dishes. From being the star of the show in steak-stuffed mushrooms to enhancing the flavor of a chicken dish, here are two recipes to try.


Steak-stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Creamy Poblano Sauce


  • 2 fresh poblano chile peppers
  • 1 small onion, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 flat iron steaks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice



  • ½ ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro



Using a grill, place poblano peppers and onion slices on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 15-20 minutes or until onion is tender and pepper skins are blackened, turning occasionally. Place peppers in a food-safe plastic bag and close the bag. Set peppers and onion aside to cool.

Heat oven to 350°. Coat each mushroom cap with cooking spray, and place on aluminum foil-lined, shallow-rimmed baking pan. Bake mushrooms in oven 15-17 minutes or until mushrooms are fork tender.

Remove and discard skins, stems and seeds from peppers. Chop peppers and onion.

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add poblano peppers, onion and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Season steaks with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Place steaks on grill grid over medium, ash-covered coals and grill, covered, 10-14 minutes or to desired doneness using a food thermometer. All beef products should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145º.

Increase oven temperature to 400°. Cut the steak into 1-inch cubes. In a medium bowl, combine steak and cheese and mix gently but thoroughly. Evenly divide beef mixture among prepared mushroom caps, mounding as needed. Bake mushrooms in oven 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, place the poblano mixture in a blender container and add ¼ cup cilantro, lime juice, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and remaining ½ teaspoon black pepper. Cover, and process until smooth.

Divide sauce evenly among four plates, and top sauce with steak-stuffed mushroom. Garnish with avocado slices and remaining ¼ cup cilantro, if desired.

Source: Recipe adapted from Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association


Chicken in Lemon-Mushroom Sauce


  • 6 chicken breasts
  • ½ cup butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese



Heat oven to 350°.

In a skillet, sauté chicken in butter until light brown. Remove chicken from the skillet, and salt and pepper it. Place the chicken in a baking dish, and set aside.

Add the sherry, lemon rind, lemon juice and mushrooms to the skillet. Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly. Remove the sauce from the heat and pour it over the chicken. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the chicken, and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Source: Recipe adapted from Country Treasures from Virginia Farm Bureau Kitchens