How to Use Dried Morel Mushrooms (& morel encrusted leg of lamb)
Tips for how to use dried morel mushrooms year-round in your recipes
Morel foraging season has come to a close in most regions so sourcing fresh morel mushrooms, or Morchellas, is only going to become more difficult. Not to worry, dried morels can be found year-round and, once reconstituted, exhibit the same textural and flavor profiles of those that have been recently foraged.
Learning how to use dried morel mushrooms in recipes that call for fresh Morchella is pretty straight-forward and offers some pretty incredible benefits that are otherwise absent. For one, dried morels preserve a condensed morel flavor! If kept in a cool, dry location, they will maintain integrity indefinitely and can be pulled as needed. Additionally, dried morel mushrooms are typically soaked in liquid like water to rehydrate them. A rich, nutty broth is the byproduct of this reconstitution method, which means you will have more morel flavor to add to other dishes—try cooking rice or polenta in it or using it to make a soup or sauce!
Here are some other tips on how to use dried mushrooms:
- If a recipe calls for a half pound of mushrooms, you’ll need about an ounce of dried mushrooms (2 ounces for a full pound).
- Once rehydrated, dried morel mushrooms can be used exactly the same way as the fresh ones. Stuff them, fry them, sauté them for pasta, or use them in any culinary exploration your heart desires!
- Pulse them in a food processor to create a powder; use it to add a ton of flavor and rustic elegance to any dish.
In this recipe for morel encrusted leg of lamb, I chose to turn my dried morels into a powder and took advantage of that concentrated morel flavor, adding an earthy level of depth to a fragrant twist on a classic lamb roast. Try it and let us know how it turned out!
Morel Encrusted Leg of Lamb
- 1 ounce dried morel mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons garlic (about 8-9 cloves)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons dried, powdered rosemary
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2. tablespoons finely ground tapioca powder
- 3 tablespoon bacon grease (preferred), butter, or other rendered animal fat
- 1 semi-boneless roast of leg of lamb (approximately 5 pounds)
- Pulse the dried morel mushrooms in a small food processor until they have turned into a powder. Leave the lid on until the morel powder dust settles.
- Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic into a paste.
- Stir in the salt, pepper, rosemary, and morel powder.
- Add the remainder of the ingredients except for the lamb and thoroughly mix together to form a thick paste.
- Pat the lamb dry, using the paper towels and place it in a medium-sized roasting pan.
- Generously coat the entire lamb with the morel paste.
- Place the side with the most fat down on the roasting rack.
- At this point, you can refrigerate the lamb (in the roasting pan) for a couple of hours or as long as overnight. This will further dry out the outer portion of the meat and coating, which lends well to a better crust. If you don’t have time to do so, move straight to roasting.
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook at this temperature for 25 minutes then turn oven down to 320 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for an additional 10 minutes per pound.
- The lamb should be pulled from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees (for medium rare).
- Cover, and set to rest for 15-20 minutes.
Serve alongside a creamy polenta, sauteéd greens, and/or roasted vegetables and pair with a full-bodied red wine!
What are some of your favorite ways to use dried morel mushrooms? Leave a comment to let us know.