This recipe is sourced from chef Maiko Kyogoku of Bessou in New York City. Simmering in soy koji, the flavorful fungus that is a staple in many Japanese kitchens, and straight-up butter makes for a sweet, salty sauce that the mushrooms and vegetables delightfully bathe in. This can be served as a side dish or in combination with a main. Regardless, this dish has a way of finding its way into a regular rotation and is a great way to remember to eat your vegetables!
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Fill saucepot halfway with stock of choice. Start stock from a cold water state.
- Place kabocha in saucepot with stock, and turn on heat to high until liquid comes to rolling boil.
- Once the kabocha is almost fork tender, turn off heat and remove squash from liquid and let cool.
- Place mushrooms and vegetables in the center of a long piece of aluminum foil.
- Dab vegetables with small chunks of butter and soy koji (or soy sauce). For a more buttery flavor, add more soy koji (or soy sauce) and butter in equal parts.
- Wrap like a little present, folding the top and bottom over first and then folding the sides toward the center so there's a neatly and tightly closed package.
- After 12 minutes, take a peek inside the foil wrapping (without letting too much of the steam escape) and check on the vegetables. If the mushrooms look sufficiently deflated (half of their bulk gone), they're done.
- Finish with a little salt to taste. Serve right away.
Michael Harlan Turkell is an award-winning photographer and cookbook author of the recently published, ACID TRIP: Travels in the World of Vinegar. He has photographed many prominent chefs’ cookbooks and hosts The Food Seen podcast on Heritage Radio Network.