I am still buying wild mushrooms, can you blame me? They are in season. I am going on a mushroom foraging day soon with my friend Val of More Than Burnt Toast (Laura of An Uneducated Palate, when are you joining us?). Val and I have been everywhere this fall, attending restaurant openings, going to vineyard dinners, attending food and wine events, visiting wineries, eating at inetresting places and taking pictures, pictures and more pictures. We may be driving along the highway (I am driving the Hummer) and Val suddenly calls “stop stop stop stop” and I quickly pull to the side of the road (it’s mostly remote side roads so we are not endangering anyone) and we jump out of the car to photograph apples orchards, Vaseux lake, goregeous vineyards and beautiful fall scenes. Put two (or three) foodies together and you never know where you may end up.
So back to the mushrooms. I have been cooking with them for a few weeks now. I just know that soon I will go to the market and “my” foraging guy Scott is not going to be there because snow is covering the fields and forest floor and the season for mushroom is over. I may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
I noticed that I have been making recipes that used mushrooms in a supporting role, such as the potato and chanterelles gratin, wild mushroom risotto and quesadillas with wild mushrooms. This time I thought the main role was in order for this seasonal star vegetable so I chopped them up and cooked them as a wild mushroom and potato ragout. There you go. They are getting the star treatment.
Ragout sounds like a winter dish but I make a ragout in the spring as well. Light and flavourful spring ragout with fresh peas, petite carrots, thin green beans, asparagus, baby artichokes and whatever else is fresh, all suspended in a light vegetable broth enhanced with a touch of white wine, truly culinary heaven. This mushroom ragout though is more substantial and makes a lovely main or side dish in the fall. The potatoes I added to it blend beautifully with the meaty mushrooms giving the dish even more substance.
I cook the potatoes separately, it seems to work better for me this way. I know it means one more pan to wash but it’s worth it in the end.
Serve the ragout in shallow bowls sprinkled with a few chopped chives and fresh thyme leaves. don’t forget the crusty bread to dip into the sauce. I cut a few slices of baguette, rubbed with olive oil, spread a little parsley pesto over (because I had it), sprinkled a little grated parmesan and placed it under the broiler. It was delish.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion or 4 shallots, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped mixed wild mushrooms (I had 2 lobster mushrooms, 2 pine mushrooms (rare to find), a buncn shitake and a handful small mixed wild mushrooms)
2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4-5 chives, chopped, more for garnish
2 tablespoon madeira
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup stock, chicken or vegetables
3 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt or more
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablspoon oil
4 medium waxy potatoes, cubed
Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet,
Add onion and cook on medium heat until translucent, being careful not to burn. Let cook until it is a little golden though to bring out the flavours.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the mushrroms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms begin to exude their juices.
Add the thyme and chives and cook a little longer.
Add the Madeira and cook for a minute.
Add the wine and raise the heat a little so the mushrooms absorb the wine.
Add the stock and bring to a boil.
Add the cream, salt and pepper.
When the sauce is nice and thickened a bit, like the consistency of a light cream, remove from the heat and set aside.
In a separate skillet melt the butter and olive oil.
Add cubed potatoes and cook on medium heat until they golden and cooked through.
Left the potatoes off the oil and add to the mushroom mixure.
Return to medium heat and cook together, stirring gently until the ragout is warmed up.
Serve in shallow bowls with grilled bread.