Welcome to the next installment of my Meet the Spice Blend series, where I'm sharing the inspiration for, back stories of, and uses for my ever-expanding collection of small batch, handcrafted spice blends. Next up, let's meet Smoky Mushroom!!
The Inspiration - Pinot Noir
I find inspiration for my spice blends in many places - travel, childhood memories, art, music, you name it. But one of my favorite sources of inspiration is what I drink. If you follow A Bite of Good on Instagram (which you can do here), you already know that my husband and I are huge fans of wine. We plan entire vacations around wine tasting and special meals and can talk endlessly about what food a particular wine makes us crave - and vice versa. Indeed, I even thought for a while about becoming a Sommelier and actually took the required introductory course and exam years ago. While I didn't pursue that profession, I think about the things I learned often and will never stop being fascinated by the relationship between food and wine.
Now, it certainly wasn't a single bottle of wine that was the sole inspiration for Smoky Mushroom. Truth be told, it was probably a spark of an idea that sat in the back of my mind for a while, growing with time (and glasses of wine). But I can say that it is Pinot Noir that is probably the greatest source of inspiration for this particular spice blend.
I have always loved pairing Pinot Noir with mushroom dishes. Just as a Pinot Noir varietal captivates the palate with its delicate balance of fruity notes and subtle earthiness, Smoky Mushroom aims to achieve a similar symphony of flavors. The rich, smoky essence of the blend mirrors the gentle smokiness often associated with well-aged Pinot Noirs, while the earthy undertones of mixed wild mushrooms echo the terroir-driven complexities found in these exceptional wines. Just as a Pinot Noir can elevate a meal with its versatility, Smoky Mushroom adds depth and sophistication to a wide array of dishes, making it a culinary companion that celebrates the artistry of flavor harmonization inspired by the world of wine.
Flavor Profile - Smoky Mushroom
Smoky Mushroom features a medley of mixed wild mushrooms that bring an earthy, umami richness to the forefront. The subtle herbal notes of sage add depth and complexity, while the delicate sweetness of brown sugar perfectly balances the savory elements. Smoked paprika imparts a delightful smokiness that evokes the essence of a cozy campfire, and kosher salt rounds out the profile with its satisfying hint of salinity. Together, these carefully selected ingredients create a unique and enchanting flavor profile that elevates any dish, from roasted vegetables to hearty stews, with a rich, smoky, and savory essence that leaves a lasting impression.
Versatility in the Kitchen - Smoky Mushroom
Here are some creative and delicious ways to use Smoky Mushroom in your home cooking:
1. Smoky Mushroom Risotto: Add a teaspoon or two of Smoky Mushroom to your favorite risotto recipe for an extra layer of depth and umami. It pairs wonderfully with creamy Arborio rice and a variety of mushrooms. Don't have a favorite risotto recipe? Try my recipe for Extra 'Shroomy Mushroom Risotto.
2. Grilled Portobello or King Mushrooms: Brush large portobello or king mushrooms with olive oil and generously season them with Smoky Mushroom before grilling. The smoky flavors will infuse the mushrooms, creating a fantastic meaty alternative for vegetarian grilling.
3. Smoky Mushroom Gravy: Elevate your gravy game by incorporating this spice blend into your homemade mushroom gravy. Serve it over roasted chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, or even a vegetarian lentil loaf.
4. Sautéed Vegetables: Sprinkle Smoky Mushroom on sautéed vegetables like Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or green beans. The smokiness and earthiness will transform your side dishes into culinary delights.
5. Smoky Mushroom Burgers or Meatballs: Mix Smoky Mushroom into ground meat or plant-based burger patties or meatballs for a unique and savory twist. Top your burgers with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions for an extra treat.
6. Smoky Mushroom Pasta: Try this recipe for Smoky Mushroom and Kale Pasta. It comes together quickly and hits ALL the comfort food notes.
7. Roasted Root Vegetables: Roast a medley of root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of Smoky Mushroom. The smokiness will enhance the natural sweetness of the veggies.
8. Homemade Popcorn: Pop some fresh popcorn and season it with a dash of Smoky Mushroom. It's a fantastic and unique snack for movie night.
9. Upgrade Your Cheese Platter: Roll a small log of goat cheese in Smoky Mushroom or sprinkle some over a wheel of creamy Brie or Camembert before baking it until melty and delicious. Serve with your favorite crackers or toasted baguette.
10. Smoky Mushroom Omelette or Quiche: Whisk Smoky Mushroom into your morning eggs for a flavorful omelette or quiche filled with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and cheese.
Feel free to experiment and get creative with Smoky Mushroom; its versatile flavor profile can enhance a wide range of dishes, from breakfast to dinner.
Ready to get your own Smoky Mushroom? Get it here.