Apr 16, 2009

Morel Mushroom Stuffed Teriyaki Burgers and Morel Tater Tots, with Roasted Garlic Aioli & Asian Slaw

It's the Morel Mushroom Challenge! -I feel so "Iron Chefy!"

After recently being introduced to the Morel Mushroom, courtesy of Marx Foods, I found that I knew very little about this odd looking wild fungi.
Fresh Morels from Marx Foods

So I did a little research and found that these wonderful mushrooms have been around since the last ice age, and can be found wild in most parts of the world. Known for it's "brainy" conical structure, it also comes in several varieties, ranging in color from white creams to grays and blacks. Experienced morel hunters look for certain types of trees to find morels growing nearby, and it has become a big Spring pastime to gather them. As for the taste, I would describe them as having a distinctive fragrant earthy flavor with a more delicate texture than most common mushrooms found in markets.

Large dried morel
Now for the recipes:

The Burger...
After tasting the morels, I decided not to incorporate them directly into the burger, but to both "stuff them" with chopped morels and top them with sauted morels to bring out its maximum flavor. This way, the texture and flavor would not get lost -plus there's nothing like picking up a stray mushroom and popping it in your mouth!

Makes one good burger

4 oz. dried morels, rehydrated in water (reserve 1 cup of the water)
5 oz. Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein
1 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. mirin cooking wine
cracked black pepper (as desired)
1/4 C. thinly sliced yellow onion, lightly coated with unbleached all purpose flour and a pinch of salt
extra virgin olive oil (for cooking)
canola or vegetable oil for deep frying
whole wheat bun, toasted
After rehydrating the morels for an hour or more, remove 1 cup of the morel water and pour into a sauce pan. Add brown sugar, soy sauce, and mirin, and simmer until reduced to a syrup. In a large mixing bowl, break up the Gimme Lean and add cracked pepper. Add the syrup and mix well to incorporate evenly. Form into two thin patties (about 1/4 inch thick each). Chop half of the mushrooms and spread evenly between the patties. Squeeze the patties together to form one big patty. In a flat skillet, add the olive oil and cook each side of the patty for a few minutes, covering with a smaller metal lid before and after flipping. For the other half of the morels, cut them into large pieces. Saute them in olive oil and garlic until softened and edges are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper. For the onion straws, shake off excess flour and deep fry onions until golden and crisp. Drain on a paper towel or bag. Transfer the patty onto the toasted whole wheat bun. Top with a layer of fried onions, followed by a pile of sauted morels. Spread some of the garlic aioli onto the top bun, if desired.

For the Tots...
These are more like "disks," but remind me of tots. Using the muffin tin helps cook them evenly and gives them shape. And they'll be crisp on the outside and nice and tender on the inside.

Makes about 15 tots

4 oz. morel mushrooms, rehydrated and finely chopped
1 large russett potato, peeled and grated
1 tsp. corn starch
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. water
salt & pepper
oil spray

Wrap the grated potato in a tea towel or clean cloth, and wring out as much water as possible. In a bowl, mix together with morels. Next, make a slurry of corn starch, olive oil, water and seasoning. Mix together well, then press the mixture into the muffin cups to about 1 inch thick. Make sure you press them tightly! Bake in a 450 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden. To give extra color to the tops, broil them on low for a few minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before popping out. You may need to loosen some with a small knife.

The Roasted Garlic Aioli was simple- Add chopped roasted garlic to some Vegenaise (vegan mayo of choice). A tip to make this less fatty and just as flavorful- do one part silken Mori-Nu tofu blended with one part Vegenaise.

The Asian Slaw was also simple- Toss finely shredded cabbage, carrots, green onion, whole bean sprouts, and cubed avocado with an Asian vinegrette. I mixed together soy sauce, rice vinegar, agave nectar, and a dash of sesame oil to make mine. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds.

Now, get ready to VOTE (if you like) on the Marx Foods blog. The winner gets 2 lbs. of fresh morels (oooh!) The recipes should be up soon, if not already. Unfortunately, mine was turned in a little too late to qualify, due to my unrealistic belief in multi-tasking! But please do head over there and gawk at all the lovely morels!

Special thanks to Justin Marx- you rock!
Also, special thanks to Mark (house mate extraordinaire) for helping me develop and execute these recipes.


  1. My mouth is watering! Mushrooms and terriyaki go so wonderfully together.

  2. My mouth is watering. Mushrooms and terriyaki are a great combo. I bet this would satisfy any non-vegan as well.

  3. I very rarely cook with dry mushrooms, but your burgers are just calling out to me.

  4. Gotta be honest, both of these recipes are calling my name! You would have been a worthy opponent in the challenge!

    LOVE the tots! And that veggie burger with the morels has got to be amazing! Scrumptious!

  5. WOW!!!! The burger looks insane!

  6. I have never had a morel but I do love mushrooms. They look so cool and those burgers looks amazing! I'm going off to vote.

  7. i love morels. it's just about morel hunting time here in midwest. yum!

  8. This sounds absolutely delicious - I've never had morels before but you've convinced me to give them a go next time I see them!

  9. I've never tried morels before, but your meal certainly looks great! I tend to shy away from dehydrated mushrooms, but maybe I'll have to try again with these ones.

  10. Wasn't sure about rehydrated mushrooms at first, but these dried morels were delicious, and had a very delicate texture, despite being dried! I highly recommend them.

  11. I've never been one for mushrooms but this looks amazing!