Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mushroom Jerky (or Bacon?)


I have been having a love affair with my dehydrator lately.  For those who are totally superficial and want to know about its labels (or for those looking to buy one), I have a Nesco with temperature selections.  I used to have a Nesco without temp selects, and that one was in the $40 range, so I think it's probably about the same for this one, but I got my current one through barter... so I'm not sure.  That's right, I bartered for a dehydatrator.  I think I just got another hole punch in my "You are a total Hippie" card.  *Note to self, must make some kind of punchcard or bingo card to indicate crunchy mama status.  Would be delightful hilarious fun for all.*

Anyway, I usually have a batch of kale chips in the dehydrator these days as my two little munchkins eat an entire bunch of kale (which, incidentally, is exactly enough to fill my dehydrator to capacity) in about a half hour.  Some days we go through two bunches of kale.  I also help them because kale chips are universally amazing.  Here's one of my favorite recipes.

Well, we got one of those packs of portabello mushrooms the other day (the four pack- note that only 3 fit in my dehydrator) and I thought that I could make some yummy jerky-type snack.  I wanted it to be a bit chewy, teriyaki flavored, and super delicious.  It worked.

For the marinade:
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 inch of ginger knob, minced
2 Tbsp vegan worchestershire (whichever brand you like, I have tried several and like them all)
2 Tbsp soy sauce (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
*optional 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke (you can also used smoked paprika for a smokey flavor and not as many weird chemicals

Mix this up and taste it.  Do you think it needs something?  Add it.  This will be REALLY strong.  One thing about mushrooms is that they will absorb this flavor really well.  One thing about dehydrating is that it INTENSIFIES flavors, so it's easy for something to be too salty/sweet/spicy if you don't dilute your marinade.

So at this point, I added at least 1/4 cup water.  You want it to be a watery version of the flavor you want.  Then slice your mushrooms into thin strips and toss them in it.  I used a gallon ziplock bag and shook it up.  The mushrooms are really the great at soaking stuff up, so I didn't have to let it marinate overnight or anything.  More like as long as it took to shake up- done.

I layered them on my dehydrator sheet and set it at the highest heat and let it go for about 4-5 hours (I may have sampled at 2, 3, and 4 hours, but best results were after 5+  They get a bit crispy, but still have a good chew to them, and then bits of ginger and garlic get crispy- what a treat!


I haven't tried making a "bacon" version of this, but to do so I would make my marinade with soy sauce or liquid aminos, liquid smoke or paprika, a touch of maple syrup, and black pepper.  I bet it would be good... I wish I wasn't out of mushrooms...  If you try it, tell me how you did it and how you made it your own.

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