Morel Mushroom Pesto Chicken Pizza

Morel Season has been off the hook.  We have found them in Washington, Mt. Hood, Sisters, and McCall, Idaho.  There is nothing like a fresh morel for cooking with so this month I am posting recipes specifically with morel’s in them for those of you that are interested in hunting morel’s.

Blondies hanging out in the moss, ready for a picking.

Blondies hanging out in the moss, ready for a picking.

Hunting Morel’s is a discipline.  Sometimes you are going to get disappointed because the conditions are not right.  Those are what I call a scouting mission.  When the conditions all line up and the morel’s start popping that is when you know you are getting paid off for all the scouting trips and weather watching you have done the weeks before.  My weekends are consumed with this activity during the season.

Blondies do not hide in the forest as well as the brown morels.  They taste awesome though.  My favorite of the morel species to find.

Blondies do not hide in the forest as well as the brown morels. They taste awesome though. My favorite of the morel species to find.

Stephanie, my wife, loves pizza.  She would eat it every other day if she could.  She also runs about 6-8 miles a day and 1/2 marathons all the time so she can get away with it.  I, on the other hand, does not have that luxury.  So I decided since she loves morels and pizza to make her the perfect morel pizza.

Pesto Sauce for the Pizza.

Pesto Sauce for the Pizza.

My Pizza Pesto Sauce

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of roasted pine nuts (roasted means brown them in the pan first)
  • 4 garlic cloves (if you do not want the extra garlic taste roll with 3 cloves but everyone hates a quitter)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Blend in processor until smooth.  Add more olive oil as needed to give it smooth creamy texture

I take my pre-made pizza dough that I had to buy because my wife outlawed flour in the kitchen when I am in it.  Let it rise for about 30 minutes and I start tossing it in the air like Luigi Pastorini Linguini guy.

Lay down the sauce on your pizza pie

Lay down the sauce on your pizza pie.

Take a nice chicken breast and seasoned it with salt and pepper and cook it until down in a pan.  Then slice it evenly.  I use a monkey to put the chicken on the pizza.

Here is my little monkey helping daddy with cooking.  She loves it.

Here is my little monkey helping daddy with cooking. She loves it.

I mean seriously the monkey loves it.

Monkey loving making pizza.

Monkey loving making pizza.

Take the morels, cut them length wise in half, about 15 of them.  Get a hot pan ready, add butter and a tablespoon of chopped garlic.  Then add the morels on high heat and flash the pan with a little Sherry.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the morels to the pizza.

Add the morels to the pizza.

Here is where you can use your creative energy on what type of cheese to use.  Do not use a greasy cheese like a cheddar.  It produces too much oil.  I used a mixture of white fontina, mozzarella, and little gouda.  I used my oven, with a pizza stone that I heated at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Turn up the oven to 475 degrees.  Here is the trick, use parchment paper under the pizza so you do not burn yourself handling the stone.

10 minutes later a nice brown perfectly cooked pizza arrives.

10 minutes later a nice brown perfectly cooked pizza arrives.

Let the pizza sit for about 10 minutes, before cutting.  At this point, you basically have to guard the pizza from house predators because it smells so good.  Some ovens cook longer than others but keep an eye on it and once the cheese browns remove it.

My mouth is watering at this point typing about this ordeal.

My mouth is watering at this point typing about this ordeal.

Stephanie was a very happy young lady, which makes it good for me when I want to sneak off hunting morels.   She encourages this activity.

A good day in Idaho

A good day in Idaho

 

I hope you give it a try, both hunting morels and this pizza.

 

Hunting Chef

boise mushroom 008

Lamb Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce and Morel Mushrooms

Morel season has been spectacular this year!  I have picked well over 600 this year with the numbers climbing.  My daughter and I picked 190 of them outside Boise on the way to McCall in about 2 hours.  We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed our talks while hunting them and breathing mountain air.

The Kings of the Forest

The Lords of Morel Land.  These are A Grade quality.

I had to fly them home in my carry on and I made pretty good friends with a TSA German Shepard named Sarge.  He really liked my bag, and his handler really wanted my mushrooms but to no avail.

A handful picked of grade A Blonde Morels

A handful picked of grade A Blonde Morels

Last year my wife Stephanie got me an electronic pressure cooker and I was a little intimidated by it.  All I do is stare at it when I walk thru my garage.  So I decided I was going to bust this bad boy out and get it mastered.   So I took some lamb out of the freezer, got the machine out the box and started writing on a pad of paper.

My nemisis.

My nemesis.

I put some lamb steaks, seasoned them with salt and pepper and tossed in 1 onion sliced, 4 garlic cloves, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 cup of red wine, 1 cup of beef broth.  I set the timer for 25 minutes and pressed the button and went outside and hid in my truck in case the thing blew up.

Here is what they look like at the Dovenburg Farm before

Here is what they look like at the Dovenberg Farm before…

25 minutes later the alarm goes off and it begins to shut down, and lets you know when you can open the top.

This is what the look like after.

This is what the look like after….

The little monster worked perfectly.  The meat was fall off the bone and had great taste.  I was impressed to say the least.  I removed the meat chunks and got out my food processor.

Just fall of the bone good!

Just fall of the bone good!

Add the lamb meat, 3 garlic cloves, 1 shallot, three green onions, sea salt and pepper to the food processor.  As I mix it I add a little of the liquid from the pressure cooker, just a little like three tablespoons so it mixes well.  You want the texture to still remain chunky and not liquid.

This is about the consistency you want.

This is about the consistency you want.

I did not make my pasta sheets, I bought them from Whole Foods fresh.  Like I said, my wife does not let me make pasta or anything that uses flour in our kitchen because she has to clean it up.

Load up the lamb mixture into the ravioli press.

Load up the lamb mixture into the ravioli press.

Take a brush and use water around the mixture then layer the second pasta sheet over the top, and press.

I basically stand on this thing and still have to crimp the pastas sides with a fork.  Maybe I am a weeny.

I basically stand on this thing and still have to crimp the pastas sides with a fork. Maybe I am a weeny.

Cut and remove your pasta, I had to crimp my sides with a fork to assure they held together.

Fresh Lamb Pasta ready for the water.

Fresh Lamb Pasta ready for the water.

Time to make the sauce, and gorgonzola goes great with lamb.  So I make my favorite sauce. I add one tablespoon of butter, 1 cup of heavy cream milk, and cook on medium high for about five minutes, reduce by 2/3rds.  Add about 1/4 cup of your favorite gorgonzola, reduce to warm.

I add my blue cheese to my sauce.  BAM!!!

I add my blue cheese to my sauce. BAM!!!

Get your hot water ready, but do not boil.  Bring to boil then back it off and add your pasta, you want to gently cook it for 5 minutes.  Check pasta to make sure your fork can cut through it. Drain.  While the pasta cooks, I take butter, then put three cloves of garlic chopped, on top.  I want to carmelize the garlic so I put the morels on top of them.  Then let cook for 3 minutes over medium high heat, then stir them around evenly.  Once the garlic is brown remove.

Butter, Garlic, then the morels.

Butter, Garlic, then the morels.

Drain the pasta, plate the pasta.  Then pour the sauce over the pasta, followed with the morels and garlic.  Top with green onions.

When you take a bite of these KAPOW is what your mouth is going to say.

When you take a bite of these KAPOW is what your taste bud is going to say.

I have to say I take great pride in the fact that I eat what I hunt, and when you can deliver a meal like this to the plate.  It really makes you want to keep cooking.  Megan and I had a great time on a successful morel hunt.  That is three states now we clobbered them in.

Hope you give it a try, you will not be disappointed.

The Hunting Chef.

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