Butter. Cream. Garlic.
You really can’t go wrong with those ingredients, y’all. And this is one dish where those three friends dance together in perfect harmony to make a rich, delicious, and filling sauce. May I introduce you to one of my favorite all-purpose accoutrements: browned mushrooms in garlic cream sauce.
There are three things I love about this sauce. One, it’s simple. Anyone from the most beginner cook to a classically trained chef can make this just as easily. It has only a few ingredients and it comes together almost magically with very little effort. Two, it’s satisfying. The savory, creamy flavor accompanied with the underlying buttery-ness makes it filling both physically and as a comfort food. Three, it goes well with so many things. This is an extremely versatile sauce. You can serve it in so many ways: over pasta, steak, chicken, or rice. And probably much more. I think it would be heavenly over scalloped potatoes. That’s on my to-do list.
But enough talk, let’s get down to business.
Here’s the Recipe:
Browned Mushrooms in Garlic Cream Sauce
half pint mushrooms of choice
2-3 cloves garlic
16 oz cream (if buying, look for heavy cream or heavy whipping cream)
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth or white wine
butter, approximately 2-3 tablespoons
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese, optional
Slice your mushrooms and garlic to taste. I like to use fairly large slices, but you can also dice them if you want a less chunky sauce. This will affect how long it takes to saute them, so adjust times as needed. (Hint: I have made this before with finely diced mushrooms to use as cream of mushroom soup in recipes.)
Melt your butter in a deep-sided skillet. Toss in your sliced mushrooms without crowding the pan. Mushrooms hold a lot of liquid, so if you throw in too many they won’t brown very well. Saute them on medium-low heat. One softened but not fully browned, toss in your garlic. (If you start the garlic at the same time as the mushrooms, it will burn and become bitter.) Continue sauteing until the mushrooms are browned and the garlic is golden.
Increase heat to medium. Add the chicken broth or white wine to the skillet to deglaze the pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with your wooden spatula or spoon to release any of those tasty browned bits that are clinging to it.
Next, add in the cream. At first it will appear that the butter and wine/broth are floating on top of the cream, but never fear — they will soon amalgamate to form the beautiful creamy sauce you saw under than chicken breast up above. Salt and pepper to taste.
Continue to simmer the cream on a medium or medium-low setting, depending on your heat source. You want the cream to simmer but not boil. Stir frequently so the cream does not scorch. As it simmers, the ingredients will meld together and the sauce will thicken. Add the parmesan at this stage if desired. (Hint: if you add extra parm, this becomes a mushroom alfredo sauce. If you add just a bit as suggested in the ingredients, it maintains its creaminess with just a hint of something extra.)
Allow the sauce to thicken to your desired consistency, and keep in mind that it will continue to thicken just a bit as it cools. Thicker is better on pasta, thinner is better with meats.
Serve while warm with whatever you choose.
In the picture at the top, this was served with baked chicken breasts. I covered them with about half of the sauce while baking and reserved the other half for serving. It was a huge hit. (Keep the sauce thinner if you’re going to bake with it.)