Sauteed mushrooms and onions for steak, burgers, pork chops or chicken. They also make an appetizing mushroom side dish and a delicious vegetarian topping for spaghetti, rice, or mashed potatoes.
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Read on for relevant information and step-by-step pictures (2 mins)
Mushrooms and Onions Sauteed a la Steak House
This is an easy yet versatile recipe in the sense that you can influence the overall flavor to suit your own taste. Mushrooms and onions have a natural flavor affinity for each other and by varying the ingredients added to the simple saute you can create subtle, but noticeable taste nuances.
In this example we prepare the sauteed mushrooms and onions with wine, like they do in many steakhouses. And while Chris insists on using shallots (the classic professional choice) you have other options for the onions. Just be sure to slice them thinly.
Ingredients + Options for This Sauteed Mushrooms Recipe
Cremini mushrooms. They are a firm, flavorful, easy to find and inexpensive mushroom variety also known as baby bella because they are young portobello mushrooms. You can substitute with white button mushrooms. If you can get your hands on some – wild chanterelles or porcini make for a really delicious version of this mushroom side dish.
Butter and olive oil. While butter carries a lot more flavor, it burns easily, so a combination with olive oil is the perfect solution for sauteing mushrooms.
Shallots or other onion & garlic. Shallots have a delicate, sweet flavor, cook fast and are visually pleasing in this dish when sliced across into rings (see image below). Sweet onion varieties and yellow onions are a good choice as well, be sure to slice them really thin so they can cook quickly. We highly recommend that you use garlic (as specified in the recipe card).
Acidic ingredient. A flavorful acid creates counterbalance to the robust earthy taste of the mushrooms and the richness of the butter they absorb. Good choices are red wine, sherry, dark beer, balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire sauce. Beef stock can work too if you do not have any of the above handy.
Thyme & parsley, salt & pepper. Both of these fresh herbs complement mushrooms. Because thyme is wonderful with cooked onions as well, we use in the saute, while we like to add the parsley as a garnish to the finished dish.
TIP: A combination of red wine and balsamic works particularly well when using white button mushrooms. If you are a fan of doppelbock lager then you will not be dissapointed if you choose it for the acidic ingredient – it has a notable compatibility with the main ingredients of this sauteed dish.
How to Clean Mushrooms
Never rinse or soak mushrooms in water. They are so pourous and absorb so much water that once you saute them they will not brown properly. The best way to clean them is to use a damp paper towel to gently scrub their surface and remove any impurities (as shown above).
Even though most store bought varieties have been previously cleaned it is always a good idea to check for small remnants of debris and wipe them off. Otherwise you might find that your cooked mushrooms taste extra earthy:).
How to Cut the Mushrooms for a Saute
Slice them correctly – not too thin and not too thick. Really small mushrooms can be left whole, a bit bigger ones halved and larger ones quartered. If you do not like the chunkiness of quarters slice them into thickish flat top-to-bottom cross sections. It is up to you.
How to Saute Mushrooms and Onions: Step-by-Step
The workflow for this dish is fast paced so prepare all the ingredients in advance, then start cooking.
- Cut the mushrooms, cut the shallots into rings (or thinly slice onion), mince the garlic, pick the thyme leaves and finely chop the parsley.
- Heat the skillet for 2 minutes over medium-high, then add the oil, and finally melt the butter into the oil.
- Sautee the mushrooms first – the amount of hot olive oil and butter in the skillet will allow for a nice sear without them turning soggy and releasing too much liquid.
- Add the shallots (or thinly sliced sweet or yellow onion) and cook just until soft, then add the garlic, stir and cook for another minute.
- Deglaze with the acidic liquid or stock, while it is bubbling you can scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, add parlsey of more picked fresh thyme leaves as garnish, give a final stir and enjoy.
NOTE: Resist the temptation to season the mushrooms and onions while they are sauteeing. The salt will draw out too much moisture and interfere with the sauté process.
Important Recipe Tips
- Sautéing is all about high-heat and a relatively small amount of fat. Be sure to begin cooking only after your pan is properly heated. You can add a bit of extra butter if needed, but be cautious.
- The mushrooms are sauteed first in order to retain most of their juices and maintain a better texture. Make sure you allow the mushrooms to brown nicely and acquire an appetzing outer sear. The searing process creates new flavors on their surface via the Maillard reaction.
- Cook the shallots (or thinly sliced sweet or yellow onion) just until they are tender and have picked up a bit of color from the skillet.
- After you deglaze move the pan away from the heat as soon as the liquid has evaporated. There should not be excess liquid remaining.
- For avid butter lovers add a knob or two of butter in the end and let it melt over the mushrooms.
Sauteed Mushrooms Are Good for You
Adding even a small serving of mushrooms to your daily diet can have important health benefits. They bring shortfall nutrients such as fiber, choline, vitamin D and several macro and trace minerals and consuming them is an effective way to reach common dietary goals.
Additionally, mushrooms are considered healthier cooked than raw. Cooking the fungi unlocks more of the nutrients they contain and makes them better accessible for the body. Heat treatment also increases their overall antioxidant properties. Another reason for sauteed mushrooms to be considered healthier than raw is that thermal intervention destroys toxins such as agaritine.
How to Serve Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions
These are a few delicious ways to enjoy the finished dish:
- stand alone side dish – they will pair well with many red meat, poultry or vegetarian mains.
- vegetarian main dish – accompanied by some rice, quinoa, polenta, buttered or marinara tossed spaghetti, etc.
- topping for steaks or burgers – a classic reason to make this recipe!
- pasta – serve them over long strand noodles tossed in butter or olive oil, maybe with a few generous crumbs of feta cheese or goat cheese as a non-standard seasoning.
You Might Enjoy
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 16 oz cremini mushrooms
- 5 shallots (or 1 large sweet or yellow onion)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (just picked from the stalks)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup red wine*
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley (or to taste, for garnish)
- Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and slice into quarters or thick cross sections. Cut the shallots into circles (not too thin) or if using sweet or yellow onions - thinly slice them. Mince the garlic.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet (10 or 12 inch) over medium-high. Once hot, add the olive oil, then the butter (so it does not burn). As soon as the butter is melted add the mushrooms. Stir and allow to sear (this will create a lot of flavor) for about 4-5 minutes. Move them around the skillet once or twice as they saute.
- When the mushrooms acquire a golden brown finish, lower the heat to medium then add the shallots (or other onion) and thyme. Stir and saute for another couple of minutes.
- When the onion is tender and slightly browned here and there add the garlic. Stir and cook for another minute.
- Add the red wine (or other liquid) to deglaze the pan. It will bubble up and evaporate quite quickly, use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan and capture any brown bits for more flavor.
- Remove the skillet from the heat as soon as they wine has cooked off. Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chopped parsley and give a final stir. Serve.
*substitute with dark, sweet beer, sherry, beef stock, balsamic vinegar or Worcestershire. With balsamic and Worcestershire use a bit less than 1/4 cup as they are much more acidic. You can also use a combination of these liquids per your taste, just do not add much more than 1/3 cup total liquid to deglaze.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 134mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 4g
Based on 4 servings as a side dish.