More To Mushrooms
Celebrity chef James Martin is providing food for thought, as he works with the Mushroom Bureau to encourage more people to get cooking with mushrooms.
The versatile vegetable is not only a tasty addition to most dishes, but offers a number of health benefits, as they’re high in protein and low in calories – making them an excellent option for any diet.
Mushroom soup with coriander cress
I remember going mushroom picking in the New forest when I was junior chef. The head chef said it was an inspiring exercise – looking back now, I can see his point, but I also reckon it was cheap forced labour! Fast forward 30 years however, and I’m still doing it. Most recently I went with Nick Nairn up in Scotland. Rowing across the loch on our way to find mushrooms, however neither of us exactly looked like captain jack sparrow, but the treasure we came back with was much better than pirate gold – delicious fresh wild mushrooms with a great intense flavour.
- 1kg (2lb 3oz) flat mushrooms – sliced and dark gills removed
- 100ml (3½fl oz) rapeseed oil
- 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 500 ml (18fl oz) chicken stock
- 250ml (9fl oz) double cream
- 125g (4½oz) butter, diced
- 250g (9oz) mixed mushrooms (such as chestnut, portabello and oyster) roughly chopped
- 5g (1/4oz) chervil, chopped
- 50g (2oz) coriander cress or micro salad leaves
- Salt and black pepper
- Remove the stalks from the flat mushrooms and, using a spoon, scrape away and discard the dark gills, then cut the mushrooms into slices about 5mm (1/4in) thick.
- Place a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat, pour in half the rapeseed oil, then add the shallots and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice then pour in the stock, bring the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the contents of the pan into a blender and whizz to a smooth puree – this should take a good 2-3 minutes. Pour back into the pan, add the cream and mix thoroughly. Gently warm over a low heat, then stir in the diced butter, adjust the seasoning, if needed, and keep warm on the hob.
- Pour the remainder of the oil into a frying pan over a medium heat and sauté the mixed mushrooms for about 3 minutes or until cooked through, then season and set aside.
- To serve, divide the cooked wild mushrooms between bowls, ladle over the soup and sprinkle with the chervil and coriander cress or micro salad leaves.
Sautéed chicken livers and mushrooms on toast
Chicken livers are one of the few remaining inexpensive meats and we should use them in cooking a lot more than we do. Make sure the green parts of the liver are removes and don’t overcook them or they will become bitter-tasting and grainy. Mushrooms and double cream make this dish smooth and rich, a perfect opposite to the crunch toast.
- 4 slices from a white bloomer
- 30g (1¼oz) butter
- 6 rashers of black bacon cut into lardons
- 400g (14oz) chicken livers
- 200g (7oz) chestnut mushrooms, cut in half
- 50ml (2fl oz) white wine
- 110ml (4fl oz) double cream
- 3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Salt and black pepper
- Toast the bread, either in a toaster or under the grill, preheated to medium-high, and set aside.
- Melt half the butter in a frying pan set over a high heat, add the bacon and fry until it starts to crisp. Add the livers and mushrooms, and sauté for 1 minute.
- Pour over the win and cream and stir all the ingredients together for 2-3 minutes, but no more, to ensure the livers stay pink the middle, then remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve with slices of toast, plain or buttered with the remaining butter.
Chicken and mushroom pie
You can make this chicken pie either with brown or white meat or a combination of both. The same goes for the mushrooms – use either fresh or dried or whatever you can get hold of. Chestnut, portabello and oyster mushrooms are great for this recipe. Fresh tarragon is much better than dried for this recipe, but do remember that it’s a strongly flavoured herb, so don’t add too much.
For the pastry...
- 375g (13oz) ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
For the filling...
- 1 x 1.5kg (31b 4oz) chicken
- 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 75g (3oz) butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 350g (12oz) mushrooms (such as chestnut, portabello and oyster) – roughly chopped but not too large
- 150ml (5fl oz) white wine
- 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
- 4 sprigs of tarragon, leaves only
- Salt and black pepper
- One 20x30cm (8x12in) pie dish or ovenproof dish
- Place the chicken in a large saucepan with half the onions and the bay leaf. Season with a little salt and pepper and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside to cool. Return the pan to the hob and cook the stock on a rapid boil for a further 30 minutes or until it has reduced by half. Meanwhile, remove the meat from the chicken legs, thighs and carcass, then place in the pie dish.
- Preheat the oven to 220oc (425of), gas 7. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan, add the remaining onions and cook over a low-medium heat, without browning, for about 5 minutes or until softened, then add the flour. Turn up the heat and then add the mushrooms and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
- Strain the stock, then add to the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the win and cream, then bring to the oil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Season, then pour it over the chicken and sprinkle tarragon leaves over the top.
- Cut out a disc of pastry 2cm (3/4in) wider all round than the pie dish. Brush the edges of the dish with beaten egg and lay the pie dish. Brush the edges of the dish with beaten egg and lay the pastry on top, crimping the edges with a fork or your fingertips. Trim away any excess pastry and brush the top of the pie with the remaining egg. Place on a baking tray and brake for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving with the new potatoes and French beans.