Wild Mushroom Ragôut with Port
If you pay attention to seasonality of ingredients then you know that fall brings a variety of wild mushrooms to our markets. One of the (many) reasons I like hiking in the fall is finding different mushrooms growing in the mountains. I have not had the nerve to actually pick them and bring them home for fear of picking the wrong ones (some are poisonous or at least can make you ill). At the moment I stick to photographing them in the wild but one of these years I will have to look into this as I know people who do pick them and have delicious mushroom feasts after a hike. In any event, at the moment I go the safe route and pick them up at the Italian markets or farmers markets I visit at home or while we are away.
In terms of varieties what is accessible to us here in addition to the regular white button, crimini (brown) and portobello mushrooms are varieties such as shitake, morels, chanterelle, oyster mushrooms, enoki, beech, cauliflower mushrooms, clamshell mushrooms etc. They are unlikely to be available all at once and for this recipe pick 3-4 varieties if you can find them and it will make a lovely, full-flavour ragout. Any combination would do.
You can serve the ragout on its own with crusty bread or you can serve it alongside other food, over rice or with pasta. I also like to serve it with polenta that I bake in the oven into various shapes. In the image below the ragout is served with polenta triangles. Whichever way you choose to serve it, this ragôut would add an authentic, exotic element to your dining experience.
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 lb mixed wild mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Port
1 1/2 cups vegetables or chicken broth
1/2 cup cream
Flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Shaved parmesan for garnish
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté onion for 3-4 minutes until translucent and beginning to turn golden but not browned.
Add garlic and shallot and continue cooking a couple of minutes until they are fragrant.
Add mushrooms and cook, stirring now and then, until most of the liquid is absorbed. You may need to add a bit of oil or butter if the skillet seems too dry.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add Port carefully (so the alcohol does not ignite) and cook until the liquid is almost evaporated.
Add chicken broth, stir gently and cook until sauce is reduce by about half.
Add cream and cook for another few minutes until sauce thickens a bit.
Serve on its own in bowls with good crusty bread or polenta wedges to soak up the sauce. You can also spoon some over rice or pasta.