My mom is not really one to walk on the wild side. Especially when it comes to parenting.
(Disclaimer – I love my mom. Dearly. And anything said here is said without any malice. She knows that. And will probably also agree with everything that follows. To some extent.)
She didn’t let us eat dirt. Or put things in our mouths after they’d fallen on the ground. In fact. I ‘m pretty sure she still carries around wet wipes with her. Just in case.
We were only allowed to ride our bikes up and down our block. Sure, there was a really cool hill on the next block over. (We’re talking a near 90 degree angle here. It was epic.) That all the neighborhood kids got to traverse for hours on end during the summer. (We could hear their screams of joy from our backyard. It was torturous.) But mom couldn’t see us from the kitchen window if we went over there. And the majority of kidnappings happen within a block of a child’s home. So we were s*** outta luck. (And everyone wonders why I didn’t learn to ride a two-wheeler until I was 12. Our block is as steep as the plains of Iowa. There was just no incentive.)
Then, of course, there were all the things we weren’t allowed to eat. Shellfish. Sushi. Any ethnic cuisine that takes its origins from a third world country. Beef or pork that doesn’t have the consistency of shoe leather (my mom still shudders when I order my steak medium-rare. Then again, I go ballistic when she orders it well done. So I guess we’re even.) Play-doh.
One thing that would definitely have been included on the eat-with-caution list? Wild mushrooms.
Never mind that they were hand-picked by experts in the field. And are eaten by thousands worldwide. Without repercussion. To err is to be human. Best not to take the risk.
Unless you are me, of course. A person who eats with reckless abandon. (Much to the disdain of my parents.)
So when I heard about the MarxFoods 2nd Annual Morel Recipe Challenge. I was all in. Never mind that I’d never had a morel before in my life. I walk on the wild side. (Get it? Wild side. Wild mushrooms.) Bring it on.
There were a lot of things I could have done with the morels. Risotto. Polenta. Pasta. All of the usual suspects. And when I googled morels looking for inspiration. These are what I found. The inspiration? Not so much.
So I thought about it some more. And eventually decided to make a savory cornmeal buttermilk waffle with a fresh tomato morel bruschetta.
That obviously didn’t happen.
Because I got distracted.
By these cute little butternut squash that were sitting on a table at my local farmer’s market. Winter squash goes really well with mushrooms. I thought. And so I brought it home.
Then. I was flipping through the April issue of Bon Appetit. Which mentioned something about a rhubarb chutney.
That was when everything clicked. And the butternut squash and morel chutney was born.
The earthy, smoky, complex flavor of the morels pairs really nicely with the subtle sweetness of the squash and the tartness of the cranberries that I used to flavor the chutney. All of which goes perfectly with a cumin and brown sugar dusted pork chop.
It kind of made me wish that morels were in season year-round. And also kind of inspired me to take up mushroom hunting. I may not be an expert. But having the ability to make this dish again. Is worth any risk associated with my lack of knowledge about how to differentiate a poisonous from a non-poisonous mushroom.
Butternut Squash and Morel Chutney
1 small butternut squash, a little less than 1 lb, chopped into small dice
1 oz dried morels, reconstituted in boiling water for 30 minutes, chopped
2 tbsp cranberry juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Heat a non-stick skillet and spray with cooking spray. Saute the butternut squash until it is just starting to get soft. Add in the morels and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cumin and Brown Sugar-Dusted Pork Chops
4 pork chops
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
1. Preheat a grill or George Foreman. Combine the sugar and cumin. Sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the sugar and cumin mix evenly over the chops.
2. Grill the chops until desired degree of doneness.
Top the chops with the chutney and garnish with some cilantro.
I am also submitting this to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by ProfKitty of The Cabinet of Prof. Kitty.
In other news. The Regional Recipes round-up is up over at the new Regional Recipes BLOG! This will be the new home of Regional Recipes.
Our destination for next month is Haiti so start thinking about what dish you want to make before the 30th!
Also. The winner of the CSN Giveaway is comment number 42 – Preeti of Relishing Recipes! Please email me your contact information at [email protected] so that your all-clad pan can be delivered to you ASAP!
AND check out my guest post being posted later today over at one of my favorite blogs – Very Culinary!
I used to go mushroom hunting in the Sierras with my Aunt…and oh boy were those the best tasting mushrooms ever!!
this, as usual, looks beyond delicious.
Yummy chutney and pork chops. I am just like your mom too.. very wary about not letting my son do anything. Arrgghhh, I missed the regional recipes roundup again.. I was away for a few days on a mini vacation..next time for sure then.
I love it!
Not mushroom fans around here but the recipe still sounds fantastic. For the mushroom fans.
I drive my kids nuts by not letting them out of my sight on their bikes too. While the other neighbor kids aimlessly wander around while their parents “assume” where they are. The world is a whole new place once you have kids.
LOL – my kids have to be on the same block when they’re playing too!
The chutney was a great and creative use for the morel mushrooms! All of the colors in the chutney are gorgeous against the background of your pork chop.
Congrats to the winner of the CSN giveaway!
We are huge mushroom fans so this sounds fantastic! My parents picked wild mushrooms all the time and they were the best!
Cute story about your mom, but at least you learned to ride a bike!
I love morel very much. Such an expensive mushroom, but it worth every bite! Beautiful dish Jo, and your photo is getting better and better each post.
how funny! talking about morels and i’m reading about fungi. LOVELY. =D
Ha ha …ur wild side is super delicious and creative and looks way way good…..am sure u’ll top that challenge …..
By now MArx food mus love u so muc….
Wow, I love your combination of morels and butternut squash, super delicious over pork chops! Yum!
congrats on your recipe being published on another site-how fun! love the stories about your mom and childhood.
of course you dish is fantasic as well….i would not be scared of mushrooms either!
Does your mom read your blog???
She deserves a rebuttal guest blogger opportunity at some point. You are here and alive so she was right (just ask her). and if she really had her way, she would still be able to check up on you out her window.
Sounds like you have a case of foodie rebellion! Glad you do, as your recipes are always wonderful. I’ve never used morels, I am guessing they are pretty pricey!
Haha your mom sounds very similar to my dad! We were not allowed to go around the block on our bike, only up and down the block. One time my dad went out and my sister decided to go around the block with her bff and just when she thought she got it away with it, my dad forgot something and caught her half way around. She was grounded for the rest of the summer lol
Your upbringing sounds like mine! Love the butternut squash and morel chutney. Beautiful pictures too!
When my kids were little they would go off on their bikes and I wouldn’t see them until dinnertime. They would stop the milkman (oh yes, a milkman!) and ask him for ice cream. He’d leave a note for me telling me he would add it to the bill. And yes, he walked right into the house when I wasn’t there. It’s so sad that those days are long over. I think my kids are the last generation to have felt truly safe.
I’ve been eating morels since I was a child. We used to go foraging for them in the spring…the only time you can find them. We always found them in the same place, in an apple orchard. Mother would dip them lightly in flour and fry them. OMG.
In Paris, you can get these monster fresh morels. I was in heaven. I’ve seen them at Dean and DeLuca too, but they cost the earth! And I see them down here once in a while. Probably any day now. When I need a morel fix, I get some dried and make do. But the fresh are soooo much better.
Great chutney flavors!
Great flavour combination and creative thinking.
this sure is a creative dish. i don’t think i had so many rules about eating when i was a kid, but my mom did kind of overcook everything.
dude, you’re a genius, that’s just all there is to it. fantastic idea!
Fantastic! I still haven’t cooked with Morels yet, I really need to try them as I just love mushrooms.
Morel mushrooms…I never had them fresh…just dry version…it sure looks good with pork chops 🙂
A great recipe for the mushroom fans..never tried morels yet..
It’s been so long since we’ve been able to submit anything for Regional Recipes. =(
I’m that mom too. Except for the eating part. The chutney looks yummy!
Congratz Preeti! I’ve never had a morel, since I’m not into mushrooms, but those chops look great! Love the wicked thick ones.
What a gourmet recipe – it’s beautiful too.
I love morels! I miss getting fresh ones in the spring, but I love that dried are always available. Great choice!
Being a mom now, I understand many of the strange things my mom used to do when I was young. The responsibility of raising a child makes you sometimes exaggerate. This sweet and sour chutney looks very promising
Morels are my favorite mushrooms, they are so flavorful and versatile. This looks like a great recipe!
wow another impressive meal all the best with the entry LOL
Yum, I love morels! I usually saute them in a little butter and call it done (well, not usually, because I’ve only used them twice), but your dish is so creative! I’m going to stop asking how you possibly have time to cook such marvelous while in Med School and just accept it. You are Superwoman. End of story.
Would you believe I’ve never had morels? (My mom was also not a fan of walking on the wild side. 😉 ) Sounds like they pair perfectly in this dish though…I’ll definitely look for them next time I’m shopping!
“And the majority of kidnappings happen within a block of a child’s home.”
Why didn’t ya’ll just move? 😉 🙂
I guess your mom would stroke out if you cooked your chops to an internal temp of 150f, swearing you were going to get trichinosis but it’s the right thing to do. Looks great Joanne!
Now go ride your bike (and you can take candy from a stranger but only if he’s good looking and well dressed).
HAHAHAHHAHAH i KNEW you’d love it! that’s why in that post i was like joanne, this one’s FOR YOU.
JUST for you, i’m going to see if i can meet up with him this wednesday adn snap a picca for you! =D but anyways yes. killed that jar of peanut butter in 2 days. HOLLAh.
i know. B’s such a cutie right?! i love guys who can twist song lyrics around. =D hhhaha. he texted me later that morning saying GOOD MORNING! =D. will kEEP YOU POSTED ON THIS ONE.
Are you totally certain that we weren’t raised by the same woman? Seriously? Well, at least when it came to all things culinary. It took a long, long time for me to convince her that no, it’s not okay to put a beautiful steak under the broiler and then…like…forget about it for a while. *Shudder* I still wake up screaming.
Love your pork chops and the morel mushrooms- I need to make a chuntney- you’ve given me inspiration.
We definitely ate the Play-Doh, on more than one occasion. At least I did…
This sounds incredible! I love moels.
I love squash and it can only get better with the addition of mushrooms! Great guest post! I really should get around to making bread since you always seem to have amazing recipes that tempt me to try my hand at bread. I think the weirdest thing I’ve eaten is paper…so maybe your mom was right in keeping you from eating weird things lol
Very unique chutney–love the combination of flavors and it looks amazing with the pork!
wooow,,,recipe looks perfect n colourful sounds great with squash n mushrooms…pork chops looks great my hubby’s faav one,,,
anti-mushroom girl here. my mom would’ve liked for me to eat them, but i just don’t like ’em. it’s a clever chutney though, and i have no doubt that it pairs quite nicely with those delicious-looking chops!
This sounds so great…I am fairly new to using chutney…never had it until about a year ago! Your pictures are gorgeous!
I have some of those mushrooms coming also, they look really nice! Great looking yummy dish!
Congrats to the winner!
Lovely pics and recipe Joanne! Shd try the butternut squash and Morel Chutney,…yummy!
Thanks so so very much for the prize…I am honored and thrilled to bits sweets.
Sorry for replying late, down with fever and busy with unpacking and all. Hope you understand.
ooh, i want to try morels 🙂 what a great dish!
I have not had morel in my life too! I am the one missing out bad. OK. I shall not waste the 2nd half in my life missing out on that, if I live that long. Your dish looks beautiful 🙂
Oh my this this so adventurous! I’ve never used morels or made a chutney and I always manage to turn pork into an overcooked, chewy, do-I-really-have-to-eat-this protein. Yours looks quite yum though.
I think there were a lot of moms in that “better safe than sorry” club, mine included. It obviously didn’t adversely affect your culinary creativity. What a wonderful dish! I am so impressed with what comes out of your kitchen!!
Mmmmm Morels! I think you should start mushrooming closer to your internship so that if something goes wrong you can treat yourself.
Yeah, I remember this incident from the 5 honest things and a lie post..Seriously Jo, do you go to School everyday, seems like you are so addicted to cooking 🙂 Squash and Summer..mmm..
Mushroom pix looks good. Congrats to the winner!
This is truly beautiful and creative to boot. I declare you winner of the contest!!!I love morels but they are so expensive that we don’t have them often. This is a great recipe. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary
Good luck with the contest! I rarely use morels because of the price. The fresh ones – $$$!
Your recipe sounds fantastic and includes some of my favorites – cranberries, squash and pork!
What a great recipe, I use dried mushroom a lot and this is a tasty way to spruce up morels. Thanks!
Wow the apple cider vinegar and the addition of the cranberries cut through the richness of the butternut and the morels! Great flavors going on here!Yum!
Sounds like a very delicious and creative dish. I can identify with your mom….she must be Italian!!!!
Your mom sounds hilarious! I am so jealous of those lovely morels. This dish sounds amazing.
you know i so want to cook with morels a bit more.. but they are always so costly. well, may be not the dried ones.. i should look for dried ones. this chutney looks so delicious!
I’ve never cooked with morels … but I know they’re nummy ‘coz I had them in a risotto once .. *sigh*. And what can I say abt your adorable mom … I gots me one of those too 😉
looks and sounds delicious. I love foods that are booming with bright colors.
great recipe…killer color
What an inspired recipe Joanne; I wish I could say that I eat morels every week! Sadly, I don’t, not even every year! Love the pairing of morel and squash and a dash of cranberry ! Nice medley of flavors. You speak of your mom so fondly it made me chuckle when you describe her squeamishness with foods and outdoor activities and such.
Wow, the chutney sounds like a really great combination of flavors. Great job 🙂
I love my mommy but she must have had the same culinary training as your mom. She still FREAKS OUT when my sisters and I talk about sushi and sushi restaurants. Like, she gets UPSET. 😉 Great post and awesome pork chop recipe – mmmm!
YAY you pass the chicken feet test! he does pass- he has eaten it before, and only doens’ tlike chicken feet because too much work for too little meat is not his thing. LOL. i am texting him today about hopefully meeting up tomorrow. hehhe.
Morel mushrooms are such a decadent treat. I adooore them! Way to walk on the wild side with the wild mushrooms.
Your post and pictures are wonderful. Such a creative and flavorful recipe!
I don’t let my kids out of my sight either. My daughter was a bit late on her bike riding mastery as well. I am all over the wild mushrooms though! Great recipe!
very colorful and creative recipe! delicious! love wild mushrooms.
I have not eaten morels but your chutney looks very delicious with the pork chops. Thanks for sharing.
I never tried morels either! You wild child. Love this chutney with butternut and cranberries! Lovely flavors to compliment the pork.
A beautiful and unique dish using morels! Good luck to all of us who participated in this contest! It was a lot of fun and your entry is quite wonderful, JoAnn.
Amazing! I really like the new look for your blog too!
I just voted, my hubby would LOVVVE this, he loves pork chops and chutney!