Creamy Sherry and Wild Mushroom Sauce For Schnitzel

1 large shallot (about ¼ cup), minced fine
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced very fine
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
8 oz fresh and/or 1 oz dried wild mushrooms - rehydrated, sliced (use whatever mushrooms you like or can find, I usually have dried shitake, chanterelle and morels in my pantry and for this recipe I used a few button, 2 small portabella and rehydrated morel and shitake mushrooms)

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1 cup cream

3 Tbsp dry sherry

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1/2 - 1 tsp Kosher salt (more or less as determined by your taste)
1/2 tsp white pepper

Lets stop right here and talk a little bit about mushrooms. The culinary kind. The "other" kind is best left for another blog post but suffice it to say, I was not allowed back into the Stardust roller rink after that night in '75, but I digress...

To rehydrate dried mushrooms place them in a bowl and cover with hot/boiling water. Place a plate over them to keep the mushrooms submerged as they will want to float.  Most types of dried mushrooms will be finished in a 1/2 hour.  If using wild mushrooms once they are rehydrated place them under running water to rince any sand or grit from them before slicing.
Also for this recipe I used a couple of small portabella mushrooms and while the name sounds fancy-schmancy they really aren't.  They are mature crimini mushrooms and crimini are nothing more than brown coloured button mushrooms, or rather the white button mushrooms are really a genetic mistake of a crimini mushroom. Regardless...

In this recipe I removed the black gills from the portabellas before slicing and cooking.  The black gills will give off their black colour when cooked which can be a real bitch when you're trying for a white/rose sauce.

So place the portabella mushroom on its back. Disregard its protestations and concentrate on the job in hand.

Then using a spoon gently scrape the gills out.

In a sauté pan over medium heat add butter, garlic and shallot, sauté until translucent.

Add sliced mushrooms, sauté for 5 – 8 minutes. You will know they are ready when the mushroom liquid evaporates and the butter is released back to the pan from the mushrooms.

Once the butter is visible and all water has been evaporated lower heat to low-medium then add the flour and stir well to incorporate.  The flour will coat the mushrooms. Stir for 2 minutes

Add broth and cream, stirring constantly to free the flour and ensure there are no lumps.  Increase heat to medium and cook until the sauce comes to a light boil, then turn heat to low - simmer.

Add sherry, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until the sherry taste is tempered and the alcohol taste has disappeared. The sauce will reduce a bit more and thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon if dipped in.  If the sauce is too watery, cook until it is reduced to your liking.

Keep sauce warm while you prepare the schnitzel.

Make lots of sauce. It is very good for leftovers. In fact I think it gets better as it sits in the fridge and all the ingredients begin to play together and become buddies on the flavour bus.

There was 2 cups of sauce left over so the next night I sauteed a few diced chicken thighs then added a cup of chicken stock to it and brought it to a simmer on the stove.  Once it was simmering I placed some al dente linguini pasta into it and tossed it for a minute or so. It was in a word - fantastic. A lovely marriage of chicken, mushrooms, cream and sherry. OMG it was worth the time spent making it. So out of the sauce came two great dinners and lunches for us at our offices.