Mushroom stew in Utica, New York

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chezkatie
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2003/09/07 16:23:51 (permalink)

Mushroom stew in Utica, New York

An elderly woman used to make mushroom stew for me.........maybe this was 25 years ago. It consisted of pork cubes, mushrooms, and tomato soup.......probably something else. Anyway, she said it was served in one or two Italian restaurants in Utica once a week (I remember it as being on Thursdays). It was served on crusty Italian bread and eaten with knife and fork. I have tried, for years, to find the recipe and have never been sucessful. I see there are posters from central New York so am wondering if any of you have heard of this, eaten it, or know the recipe.
#1

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    caszab
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 18:07:36 (permalink)
    Mushroom Stew

    one pound each, pork and veal stew, in half inch cubes
    one cup coarsely chopped onion
    two cups coarsely chopped celery
    two - three cups green bell pepper
    four cloves of garlic chopped
    at least two pounds of sliced brown mushrooms, porcinis are best. don't use the bland, anemic white ones. portos are ok, but can be chewy.
    a drizzle and splash of good olive oil
    two, three Tbsp basil, dried or one cup fresh chopped
    two tsp oregano
    a bay leaf or two
    salt and black pepper
    pinch of chili flakes (red pepper flakes)
    two, soup can size, cans of plain canned tomato sauce
    one can of water

    In a heavy pot, brown meats very well in some oil. remove from pot. add a splash of oil, saute garlic for a minute, add onion and celery, stir fry until onions just begin to soften. add a splash of water, deglaze pot with celery and onion still in pot. add meats, herbs, spices, tomato sauce and half the water. bring to boil. add bell peppers to boiling pot, stir in. you'll notice a heavenly smokey aroma of the peppers almost immediately. this is good! return to boil and stir in mushrooms, reduce and simmer an hour or so, until meat is tender. add water if sauce become too thick.
    the flavor improves overnight. so if you can resist, cool rapidly and refrigerate. serve the next day, covered sandwich style, over the cheapest, crustiest Italian bread you can find.

    mushroom stew is peasant food at its finest. i believe it came about as an extender dish, in times when meat, or the money to buy meat was scarce. you are unlikely to find this dish outside of the Central New York region. along with tomato pie and pusties, it is distinctly UTICA, and almost everyone in the Utica area makes this, regardless of national origin. some people ladle it over spaghetti. some folks make it with Italian sausage. others use paste for a thicker sauce. I vary this recipe by adding diced carrots. they add a nice sweetness. i like a thinner sauce b/c it is readily aborbed by the bread. a thicker sauce will just sit on top of it. i love lots of basil, you may not. adjust to your taste. there are no hard rules to making mushroom stew, except that it contain pork, veal, mushrooms, and be red. ENJOY!

    #2
    seafarer john
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 18:17:54 (permalink)
    Great recipe, Caszab, We're gonna make it soon, now how about your version of "Tomato pie" and "Pusties".
    #3
    chezkatie
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 20:16:57 (permalink)
    This is it............just the recipe that I have been searching for for the past 15 years! I can hardly wait to make it. Thank you so very much and welcome to Roadfood!
    #4
    lleechef
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 21:15:28 (permalink)
    chezkatie, if you are lucky enough to get your hands on either fresh or dried morels, use them. I've made basically the same dish but use morels and it gives an extra woody-earthy-pungent flavor that cannot be duplicated by another wild or domestic mushroom, except maybe a chanterelle.
    #5
    juwald
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 22:16:59 (permalink)
    I would like to know more about serving this dish. It sounds delicious! Is it sent to the table as individual bowls of stew with a soup spoon? Is the bread (or pasta) passed? Or is it always presented as a topping? I love mushrooms....this looks outstanding!
    #6
    chezkatie
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 22:33:34 (permalink)
    When my friend served it, she always served it on a regular dinner plate with 2 slices of thick crusty Italian bread (and not a gourmet kind but the kind with the soft "Wonder Bread" centers.) She would spoon the stew on top and we ate it with knife and fork and sopped every bit of the sauce up with the bread.........it is truly a great dining experience! I know that she always used just regular button mushrooms but I will buy a more earthy variety and try it that way. I know that she did not put the green peppers in hers but it surely was delicious!

    She said that she served it the same way that it was served in a couple of the neighborhood restaurants in Utica. I love recipes like this are are not known at all except in a small region of the country......so much fun to make something so special to a particular area!
    #7
    juwald
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/06 22:45:12 (permalink)
    Thanks! That gave a real visual! I'm thinking this would make an excellent casual dinner party!
    #8
    EliseT
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 02:31:36 (permalink)
    Any tips on cleaning morels? One bad experience with grit has made me cautious.
    #9
    lleechef
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 04:16:15 (permalink)
    Elise, you gotta treat them like lettuce you just picked from the garden........keep washing them in a bowl of cold water until there's no more sand, dirt or grit left on the bottom of the bowl. At this point you can dry them well and freeze for immidiate use. The method I prefer is to dry them well, spread them out on cake cooling racks and set the racks inside of the oven (gas, with pilot light) and dry them for a week, then put into zip lock bags. For some reason, the woodsy flavor is retained better in the latter method. Oh, but you gotta wash those buggers well at the beginning!!
    #10
    EliseT
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 04:18:40 (permalink)
    Maybe I just don't have the requisite patience
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    lleechef
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 04:38:47 (permalink)
    Elise, make a game out of it........every time you have to change the dirty water, pour yourself a fresh adult libation." />" />
    #12
    caszab
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 10:05:00 (permalink)
    ATTENTION EVERYBODY!
    I made a mistake when writing the recipe. The kind of mushroom that is best in this dish is PORCINI, not crimini. please review the recipe, and note the corretction. Sorry.
    #13
    caszab
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 10:12:55 (permalink)
    Pusties and Tomato Pie

    I haven't a clue how to make pusties. You always see them at almost every grocery check-out, in a box, unrefrigerated. Or you can buy them at a number of bakeries on the east side of Utica; Florentine's being the best known.

    Tomato Pie is simply a square pizza, topped with a thicker sauce, spinkled with grated cheese, and NO MOZZERELLA. It's is traditionally served at room temperature.
    #14
    lleechef
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 12:05:57 (permalink)
    I was thinking the same myself, crimini mushrooms? They're cultivated. OK, now I get it, porcini makes more sense. I still love those morels.
    #15
    Lone Star
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 12:23:58 (permalink)
    I have to ask....what is a pustie? The name is not very attractive I must say!
    #16
    EliseT
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 13:23:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    Elise, make a game out of it........every time you have to change the dirty water, pour yourself a fresh adult libation." />" />


    I'm afraid if I do that, it will lead to the invention of many more new games, such as, "Can I balance a morel on my nose?" "Do jelly bellies fit into the holes of a morel?" "I wonder if my ex-boyfriend will remember me if I call him?" and "Why is my head in the toilet"
    #17
    lleechef
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 18:47:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    quote:
    Originally posted by lleechef

    Elise, make a game out of it........every time you have to change the dirty water, pour yourself a fresh adult libation." />" />


    I'm afraid if I do that, it will lead to the invention of many more new games, such as, "Can I balance a morel on my nose?" "Do jelly bellies fit into the holes of a morel?" "I wonder if my ex-boyfriend will remember me if I call him?" and "Why is my head in the toilet"
    Oh Elise, go for it. Your ex will remember you, mine called me last Friday night, sheesh. And yes, you can balance one on your nose, but the spoon works a lot better and gets lots of laughs from the kids.
    #18
    caszab
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 20:56:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Lone Star

    I have to ask....what is a pustie? The name is not very attractive I must say!


    A pustie is a custard filled tart with a domed top and a fluted bottom crust. It is eaten out of hand. The filled might be vanilla, chocolate, canoli, or cheesecake. The word pustie is abbreviated from the Italian word "Pasticiotti".
    #19
    Ort. Carlton.
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    RE: Mushroom stew in Utica, New York 2003/10/07 21:28:53 (permalink)
    Dearfolk,
    Cannoli? Cheesecake?? Pusties?!? Now I KNOW I gotta get back to Utica, even if all I get to do is eat some'a dem an' go back to da F. X. Matt Brewery to buy a Schultz & Dooley t-shoit an' stay a night at Spilka's Hotel.
    Jane - Michael!! Go dere and report back, wouldja?
    Tryin'na Do Dat Accent An' Fallin' Flat On My Gut Doin'it, Ort. "Melifluous Southern Accent" Carlton in Multi-Regionally-Varied Athens, Georgia.
    P. S. Multi-Nationally, too.
    #20
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