Woodland Mushrooms, Herbs and Garlic Cooked in Parchment

Mixiote de Hongos con Hierbas y Ajo
This is a modern version of mixiote (mish—ee—O—tay), which may be a Mexican preparation you’ve never heard of. In the traditional kitchen, mixiote is the parchment-like skin of an agave “leaf” (a penca as it’s called in Spanish) that’s used to wrap red-chile-marinated meat (often lamb or rabbit), with the addition of, in some kitchens, nopal cactus and herbs like epazote. They’re tied up like beggars’ purses and slow-cooked in a barbacoa pit or steamed on top of the stove. Both the wrapper and the finished dish are called mixiote. This preparation is pretty far from the traditional one: parchment paper replaces the aromatic agave-leaf mixiote (which is a quite common substitute in central Mexico), meat is replaced by mushrooms and I’m treating the red chile marinade as optional (see the note below), leaving the seasoning work to be done by garlic and herbs. And while I specify some very Mexican herbs, this preparation is delicious with everything from cilantro to sage.
Servings: 12tacos, Makes about 3 cups divided between the 4 packages


  • 12ounces mushrooms (I love a mixture of cultivated shiitakes, maitakes and —with a handful of wild mushrooms like porcini, chanterelle, hedgehog when they’re available), sliced ½-inch thick (you’ll have about 6 cups of slices)
  • 6tablespoons olive oil
  • 2large sprigs of epazote, leaves pulled from the stems and coarsely chopped OR 2 large hoja santa leaves, coarsely chopped OR a couple tablespoons chopped hierbas de olor (the fresh aromatic thyme and marjoram sold bundled together in Mexican markets with fresh bay leaves)
  • 6-8large garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2thick bacon slices, cut crosswise in ½-inch pieces (optional; if left out, increase the oil by 2 tablespoons)
  • 2medium (8 ounces total) boiling potatoes like the red-skin ones, cut into small pieces (less than ½ inch)
  • 1-2dried arbol chiles, stemmed and chopped (or about ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes)
  • A generous teaspoon salt
  • 12 warm corn tortillas
  • About ¾ cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
  • A couple of limes, cut into wedges
  • About a cup of Mexican queso fresco or other fresh cheese like goat cheese or mild feta


Soak the parchment. Cut four 12-inch squares of parchment paper, loosely roll them together, submerge them in a large bowl of tap water and weight with a plate to keep them submerged.  Soak about ½ hour.  Cut four 8-inch pieces of kitchen twine for tying the packages. 


Prepare the mixiotes.  Turn the oven on to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the mushrooms with the oil, herbs, garlic, bacon (if using), potatoes, chiles and salt.  Remove the parchment from the water and lay them out onto your work surface.  Scoop a portion of the mushroom mixture into the center of each one.  Gather the corners to form a pouch, pinching the parchment together just above the filling and tying securely with the twine.  Set on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling vigorously in the packages.  


Serve.  Open the packages in front of your guests so they can enjoy the explosion of aroma into the room. Set them out with the warm tortillas, salsa, limes and fresh cheese for everyone make tacos al gusto


Red Chile Mushroom Mixiotes: Reduce the garlic to 4 cloves and stir in 1/3 cup Red Chile Adobo Quick Red Chile Adobo Marinade.  


Cactus and Mushroom Mixiotes:  Replace half the potatoes with 2 medium (5 ounces total) cooked cactus paddles; these are also delicious with the addition of Red Chile Adobo (as described above).  Clean the cactus paddles: hold with a pair of tongs while trimming off the edge that outlines the paddle, including the blunt end where it was severed from the plant.  Then slice or scrape off the spiny nodes from both sides.  Cut into ½-inch pieces.  Scoop the cactus into a medium (2- to 3-quart) saucepan and add 1 tablespoon oil and a big pinch of salt.  Cover and set over medium heat and cook, stirring once or twice for about 5 minutes.  Uncover the pan and continue to cook, stirring regularly until all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is just beginning to sizzle in the oil, about 5 minutes more.  Spread onto a large plate to cool. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *