The Best Mushroom Stew Needs These 3 Varieties For Maximum Flavor

A mushroom stew is the best vegetarian dish to cook when you're looking for deep umami flavor, and a rich, meaty texture. This filling dish is the perfect, comforting option to add to your weekly meal rotation and is simple to make. Tasting Table recipe developer Miriam Hahn's hearty mushroom stew recipe uses three different kinds of mushrooms to develop a complex, intriguing flavor. Using three different mushrooms allows for variety in flavor and texture in each bite. Some mushrooms will have earthier, bitter notes while other mushrooms can be subtly sweet and nutty. Using different kinds of mushrooms also allows for different sizes of mushrooms throughout your dish, giving the stew more visual interest. Mushrooms have different properties based on how mature they are, and whether or not they've been dried.

Hahn includes white button mushrooms, dried porcini mushrooms, and cremini mushrooms to maximize the umami qualities of the stew and create a bouncy, chewy texture. Not only do these three mushrooms make the stew a more satisfying meal, but they also offer a great introduction to how different mushrooms can provide different elements to your dishes. Hahn's mushroom selection showcases different textures, flavors, and techniques all in an easy-to-master way.

Three mushrooms, three different textures

White button mushrooms have an earthy taste to them. These are some of the most common mushrooms you can find, and probably the ones you're most familiar with. White button mushrooms have that savory flavor, but it's milder compared to porcini and cremini mushrooms due to their higher water content. White button mushrooms will be the softest of the three. They lose the most moisture while cooking, causing them to develop an almost melt-in-your-mouth characteristic.

Cremini mushrooms are actually the same species as white buttons, they just have been aged longer. They have a stronger mushroom flavor to them and are a bridge between the flavors of the porcini and white button mushrooms. Cremini mushrooms will be firmer than white buttons and have a bouncier texture when cooked, almost providing a snap back when bitten into.

The final variety of mushrooms Hahn uses is dried porcini mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms are described as tasting nutty and woodsy, with the dried versions having a more concentrated mushroom flavor. Dried porcini mushrooms offer the most unique texture of the three mushrooms. They are described as being fleshy and almost meaty. This chewiness makes for a more texturally satisfying meal and a more appetizing vegetarian dish. The dried porcini mushrooms are rehydrated, so they naturally don't have much moisture content to them, giving them that slightly rougher texture compared to the others.