Mushroom “Chicharrónes”

Recipe by Chef Isaac Bancacco
Photography by Dania Katz

Ingredients

1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium carrot, large dice
1 medium onion, large dice
1 medium leek, halved, rinsed, sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces (white part only)
2 lbs. medium button mushrooms, stems trimmed and quartered
6 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1.5 qts. water

Heat oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and leek and cook stirring occasionally until softened, about 8 minutes.

Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf and cook until mushrooms start to release moisture, about 4 minutes.

Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until stock has a pronounced mushroom flavor, about 1 hour. Pick out thyme sprigs and bay leaf, blend then place back on the heat.

After stock comes back to a boil, remove from heat and strain through fine mesh sieve. Reserve stock and pulp.

For the Chicharrón:

7 oz tapioca flour
7 ½ oz cooked mushrooms, from stock
¾ oz mushroom stock

In the blender add tapioca flour and mushroom stock, blend until a smooth dough forms. Place 1 lb. of mixture on a sheet tray with plastic wrap, with another on top. Flatten with a rolling pin till about 1/8-inch thick (3 mm). The dough should be nearly translucent.

Prepare a steamer. Steam the dough sheets, still wrapped in plastic, for about 15 minutes. Steaming will let the starch set so it is workable.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°F. Line a wire rack with parchment paper and set it over a large sheet pan (this will allow for even air flow).

Unwrap steamed dough, and place on parchment paper. Place pan in oven and let bake for 60 minutes, or until dough is dry and brittle. Flip the dough sheets occasionally to allow even drying. Once dough is completely dry and brittle, remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, break into desired bite-size pieces. (Note: Chicharrónes will triple in size when fried.)

In a large pot, fill with oil and set over medium and bring to 355° F. Working in batches, fry crisps until they are fully puffed. Let oil drain on a paper towel and season with salt.

To get extra fancy, paint with tempered dark chocolate and serve as hors d’oeuvres.