With Cinco de Mayo around the corner, I’m sure many of you are looking for an easy delicious meal to celebrate this adopted holiday. If you’re anything like me, Cinco de Mayo is probably more of an excuse to drink margaritas with friends than to commemorate the Mexican Army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Rather than slave over a hot stove while my guests drink all my booze, I like to make simple dishes that can be prepared in advance.
These braised mushroom tacos are easy and take a lot less time to make than their meat-based brethren. When shredded, the bulbous stems of Eryngi (a.k.a. King Trumpet) mushrooms look almost like shredded chicken, and while the texture may be a little more firm, it’s meaty, flavorful, and filling.
For the mole, I’ve simplified it significantly from my usual take-a-day-to-make version. It’s a little less complex from a flavor perspective, but it’s still rich, spicy and satisfying, while being orders of magnitude faster to prepare.
The most time consuming component is caramelizing the onions, but if you’ve been following along and have a batch of caramelized onions portioned and frozen, this dish comes together in about 30 minutes.
Braised Mushroom Tacos
- 2 small onions, sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 grams (0.4 ounces) dried Guajillo chiles
- 12 grams (0.4 ounces) dried Ancho chiles
- 200 grams (7 ounces) canned whole tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 300 grams (10.5 ounces) Eryngi mushrooms (about 6 large ones)
- 140 grams (5 ounces) shiitake mushrooms (about 4 extra large ones)
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 corn tortillas
- thinly shredded cabbage
- lime wedges
- Place the onions and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan and fry over medium low heat until caramelized (20-30 minutes). If you have frozen caramelized onions you can skip this step.
- Boil a kettle of water.
- Use scissors to trim the tops off of the dried chilies then cut them from end to end so you can open them up. Remove all the seeds and membranes inside the chilies. Place the chilies in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let them soak for 15 minutes.
- While the chilies rehydrate, prepare the Eryngi mushrooms by cutting off the caps and using your fingers to pull apart the stems into thin shreds that look like shredded chicken. Slice up the caps along with the shiitake mushrooms.
- Drain the chilies and transfer them to a food processor along with the caramelized onions, tomatoes, tahini, and water.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan, and put over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, cumin and cinnamon. Fry until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and salt. Sauté until the mushrooms have browned.
- Strain the chili mixture through a sieve into the pan and turn the heat down to medium low. Simmer until the sauce is very thick. Adjust salt to taste.
- Serve with warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, cilantro and lime wedges.
Yield: 12 small tacos
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.