Minecraft’s Mushroom Stew

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Greetings fictional foodies! It is the fall season, so naturally there are saplings and apples falling off the trees. Today I am bringing you a recipe inspired by one of my biggest creative outlets: Minecraft. What better way to celebrate the beautiful season than to give the autumn food of the game a spotlight in the kitchen. We are making mushroom stew. I wrote a recipe for stew that features a mix of mushrooms that you can cook in the slow cooker into something nutritious and delicious. This mushroom stew is also entirely vegan and contains a fair amount of protein without any meat or dairy. Although, I am not sure if the mooshrooms would agree…

Mooshrooms

That one blocky videogame

I have used Minecraft to build giant mushrooms, relax on mushroom islands and go adventuring with mushroom stew on hand. However, it was not always like that. Before I had my first experience with the game, I had already caught a few glimpses of other people playing it. In reality those glimpses made me pull my nose up. All the blocks and the goofy graphics, how could that ever make for a great game? Although I have definitely played games with worse graphics, my overcritical first impressions remained until my fiancé showed me a YouTube video about WesterosCraft. WesterosCraft is a Minecraft server that rebuilt the Game of Thrones universe in Minecraft. Of course Game of Thrones is another blog post idea altogether, but this video about the astounding Minecraft recreation convinced me to give the game an actual try. Since then, it has given me great opportunities for exploration and creativity.

In Minecraft you can grow many different types of food and vegetation and create meals to help you survive your adventures. There is even an achievement for eating all of these foods: “A balanced diet.” Needless to say, as a dietitian that tickles me. On the topic of mushrooms: both brown mushrooms and red mushrooms have been around since classic Minecraft. You can find them in several types of biomes, as giant varieties and they also grow inside caves underground. You cannot eat them as just raw ingredients (which I would not recommend you try doing in real life either), but you can craft them into edible food items. Rabbit stew, suspicious stew and mushroom stew. Of course there are also fermented spider eyes for potion brewing. Admittedly this is not a hobby I will pick up anytime soon, so we will leave the brewing for what it is.  

Anybody home?

First of all, I will shamelessly admit that the topic of mushrooms send me down an internet rabbit hole I got pleasantly lost in for countless hours. Gnomes and fairies living inside mushrooms, giant mushrooms as big as trees and mushrooms with legs walking around like humanoids. For years mushrooms have been associated with fantasy and mystery. In particular the red with white dotted mushroom, featured in Minecraft but also in fairy tales and songs. This is the fly agaric (amanita muscaria). Other than mushrooms having a somewhat otherworldly look about them, I could not really explain why mushrooms are so associated with the fictional. It wasn’t until I thought about this out loud that my fiancé stated the obvious. Some mushrooms are naturally hallucinogenic, meaning they contain substances that have a mind-altering effect. This includes the commonly known fly agaric. Is this where stories of fairies and such could have come from? It is certainly not hard to imagine a curious chap foraging for mushrooms and spreading tales of dancing fairies after consumption.

There are also a lot of superstitions around fairy rings, a group of mushrooms growing in a circle. People believed all sorts of terrible things could happen if you entered a fairy ring. For example, getting caught in a dance around a fairy ring and not being able to stop until you dropped dead of exhaustion. There is documentation of people from all sorts of cultures using hallucinogenic mushrooms to enter a trance, communicate with their god or go on a spiritual journey. Even deer seem to suspiciously enjoy them, although it is unknown whether it affects them the same way. I shall ask my friend Rudolf the next time I see him. 

Mushroom stew

Fungi farming

Mushrooms have been consumed by humans for thousands of years. Most species are found in the wild and are challenging to cultivate because of their growing needs. Mushrooms fall under the fungi kingdom. They are essentially the fruiting body of a larger organism of which the majority grows underground. Some mushrooms are edible but most of them are toxic to humans. There are only a select few types of mushrooms that are palatable and among those only a handful which we can cultivate in any monetarily beneficial manner. Some mushrooms feed on dead plant matter, whereas other mushrooms live symbiotically with the roots of living trees. The latter is difficult to cultivate. They need to be foraged in the wild. Champignons are common white or brown mushrooms that are easy to cultivate because they can feed on dead plant material and they grow within just a few weeks as opposed to a couple of years. This makes them a popular choice for production on a larger scale. They have already been cultivated for about 350 years. The United States, China and the Netherlands are among the largest producers of these mushrooms. I Included chestnut champignons along with some chanterelles and shiitake mushrooms in the stew recipe. I sourced my mushrooms from a local vegetable store.

Do not forage for mushrooms out in the wild for consumption unless you absolutely know what you are doing. Most mushrooms are toxic and can cause severe medical complications and even death. Instead, buy your mushrooms from a grocery store or a specialist.

The stats

The nutritional value of different mushrooms varies. Most mushrooms contain a fair amount of protein, although not enough to form a complete replacement to meat, protein wise. This is why in the stew recipe below I included some beans that are high in protein. Mushrooms do contain dietary fiber, potassium, some B-vitamins and other vitamins and minerals depending on where they were growing. It should be noted that raw mushrooms naturally contain agaritine, which is toxic to humans in large quantities. Thus it is advised that even known edible mushrooms are cooked before consumption.     

Nutritional information chart per 100 g: mushrooms
Energy75 KJ / 18 kcal
Carbohydrates0.4 g
Sugars0.2 g
Dietary fiber1.5 g
Fat0.5 g
Saturated fats0.1 g
Monounsaturated fats0.0 g
Polyunsaturated fats0.3 g
Protein2.3 g
Potassium320 mg
Thiamine0.07 mg
Riboflavin0.3 mg
Folate44 μg
Based on NEVO online version 2019/6.0

Slow and low

Stew is a dish you can excellently cook in a slow cooker. I recently received one of these handy tools for my birthday: a Russell Hobbs Slow Cooker. You just put the ingredients in, put the lid on, turn on the device and within a few hours you have the easiest most delicious meal to enjoy. Perfect for those with busy schedules and little time to prepare dinner. The mushroom stew recipe below is fit for a 3.5 liter slow cooker and makes about 4 servings.  

The recipe

Ingredients:

  • 300 g fresh mushroom mix (sliced)
  • 150 g carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 200 g potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 (400 g) can lima beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (400 g) can diced tomatoes
  • 150 ml vegetable stock
  • 80 ml red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • ½ tsp thyme (or some fresh sprigs)
  • ½ tsp rosemary (or some fresh sprigs)
  • ½ tsp marjoram (or some fresh sprigs)
  • 3 sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Method:

1. Plug in your slow cooker and set to pre-heat.

2. Clean the mushrooms with a brush and slice in preparation.

3. Wash and prepare the carrots, onion and potatoes. Do the potatoes last because these tend to brown if left out for too long. Add the mushrooms and the vegetables to the slow cooker.

4. Add the lima beans, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock and red wine to the slow cooker.

Sauce in slow cooker

5. Add the garlic, shallot, herbs, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Do not add the flour yet. Stir the contents of the slow cooker well. Cover the slow cooker with the lid and let it cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 

6. At about an hour before serving, scoop out some of the juices in the slow cooker with a cup. Add the flour to the juices in the cup and mix this in really well with a tiny whisk or a fork. Stir until no clumps remain. Add this juices-and-flour mixture back to the slow cooker. Stir it well and let it cook for the remaining time with the lid on top.

Flour mix

7. Turn off your slow cooker and serve the stew just the way it is or paired with bread, potatoes or rice.

Mushroom stew

Minecraft's Mushroom Stew

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 300 g fresh mushroom mix (sliced)
  • 150 g carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 onion (peeled and sliced)
  • 200 g potatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 (400 g) can lima beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 (400 g) can diced tomatoes
  • 150 ml vegetable stock
  • 80 ml red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • ½ tsp thyme (or some fresh sprigs)
  • ½ tsp rosemary (or some fresh sprigs)
  • ½ tsp marjoram (or some fresh sprigs)
  • 3 sage leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Plug in your slow cooker and set to pre-heat.
  2. Clean the mushrooms with a brush and slice in preparation.
  3. Wash and prepare the carrots, onion and potatoes. Do the potatoes last because these tend to brown if left out for too long. Add the mushrooms and the vegetables to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the lima beans, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock and red wine to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the garlic, shallot, herbs, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Do not add the flour yet. Stir the contents of the slow cooker well. Cover the slow cooker with the lid and let it cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  6. At about an hour before serving, scoop out some of the juices in the slow cooker with a cup. Add the flour to the juices in the cup and mix this in really well with a tiny whisk or a fork. Stir until no clumps remain. Add this juices-and-flour mixture back to the slow cooker. Stir it well and let it cook for the remaining time with the lid on top.
  7. Turn off your slow cooker and serve the stew just the way it is or paired with bread, potatoes or rice.

Nutrition


Per serving: 203 calories; 29.7 g carbohydrates; 7.8 g sugars; 9.3 g dietary fiber; 1.5 g fat; 0.3 g saturated fats; 0.2 g monounsaturated fats; 0.8 g polyunsaturated fats; 9.5 g protein.


References:

  1. Minecraft. Mojang. https://www.minecraft.net/
  2. de Jong FM. Ons Voedsel. 5th ed. Hilversum: Fontaine uitgevers; 2015.
  3. North American Mycological Association. https://namyco.org/
  4. NEVO online version 2019/6.0. Bilthoven: RIVM; 2013.

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