Wild Mushroom Dip

A friend shared the below recipe for “Wild Mushroom Dip,” except she (offhandedly and ironically) called it “Mushroom Crack Dip.” Is that fair?

Calling food “crack” is a form of hyperbole, and is often found in food writing.

Some find it insensitive to those suffering the pain of addiction. (L.V. Anderson in Slate.) But others find a germ of truth to this metaphor.

Bill Savage (firstwefeast.com) examines and parses various scientific articles that show a link between food and addiction, but whose conclusions get distorted in the mainstream press. He starts in on a University of Michigan survey that found pizza to be highest on a list of addictive foods, leading the media to proclaim that “cheese is crack.” Savage suggests that it is not the cheese that was the problem, but the highly processed nature of pizza.

This was confirmed by the next study he discussed, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, showing the addictive nature of processed sugar. Kicking sugar even results in withdrawal symptoms –though not as dramatic as cocaine.

Another study purported to show that people reacted to brownies the same way they did to a methylphenidate (a.k.a., Ritalin); yet another linked Oreos to heroin. Savage argues, again, that the real problem is the processed nature of these foods, such as the added sugar and fat.

Finally, a study concerning ice cream cravings showed that people built tolerance to such treats, diminishing the pleasure we obtain from them over time. Savage concludes,

“The real lesson here is this: Everything in moderation. Cheese, ice cream, chocolate, and especially crack.”

I’d guess the last part of that sentence was hyperbole – because the only crack I’d ever suggest, even in moderation - is this recipe for “mushroom crack dip,” also known as:

Wild Mushroom Dip

4 tbl. olive oil

4 tbl. butter

4 medium onion, chopped

4 lb. baby bella mushrooms (sliced)

4 lg. cloves garlic (chopped fine)

1 1/2 tbl. fresh thyme (chopped fine)

salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup dried morels (ground to powder in food processor)

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (ground to powder in food processor)

1 cup dry vermouth

1 lb. cream cheese

2 cups sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup grated gruyere cheese

1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In large pot, caramelize onions in 1tbl. butter and 1 tbl. oil over low heat. When caramelized, (20 min. approx.), remove onions from pot and set aside.

2. In two batches, sauté mushrooms in same pot in remaining butter and oil. Cook each batch until mushrooms give off their water and caramelize.

3. Combine all mushrooms and onions back in pot and add garlic and thyme. Cook 1 minute. Add dried mushrooms and vermouth. Cook till wine is reduced completely. Taste to season.

4. Remove half the mushroom mixture and puree in food processor. Recombine with other mushrooms. Add cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, gruyere and 1 cup grated Parmesan. Stir well to combine and melt cream cheese.

5. Bake in casserole dish and top with remaining Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.

Serve this with crusty baguette pieces or crackers, and I’ll wager that you’ll leave your guests in a happy, food-induced stupor.

But make sure they indulge only moderately – or you may have to take their car keys.


Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht & Roumel, PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and wrote a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. Follow him at @nickroumel.