Mushrooms in a creamy white sauce is a pretty standard recipe, but the use of porcini mushrooms, or chanterelles is a wonderful twist to it and there is a depth and succulence to this dish which is almost more like a meat based sauce than a vegetarian one. There are basically two variations which you can have with this dish, dependent on taste. One is for a smooth sauce, covering sautéed mushrooms. The other is for a more chunky sauce. It makes a really delicious starter, but it is also quite a rich dish, so you will need to serve something simple afterwards. However, this dish really is well worth the richness of ingredients. It is a veritable delight.
This will serve 4
25 g or 1 oz of butter
15 ml or 1 tablespoon of olive oil
225 g or 8 oz of porcini, shiitake, chanterelle or other mixed wild mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper according to taste
A pinch of grated nutmeg
15 ml or 1 tablespoon of shredded coriander
½ shallot very finely chopped
50 ml or 2 fl oz of double cream
50 ml or 2 fl oz of white wine
A dash of brandy
Heat the butter and the oil in a pan. Cook for around 2 minutes, over a relatively low heat and then add in the mushrooms, keeping the heat low. Add the salt and butter to taste. Then add in the nutmeg, coriander, shallot and cook for around 5 minutes. Add a dash of brandy, to taste. Also add in the white wine and then let the sauce reduce by cooking it for about 5 – 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and leave for about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and then put the pan back on the heat and cook for a further 3 minutes or until the cream is heated through.
For a twist on this recipe, follow the recipe above, but do not chop half the mushrooms. Leave them whole and instead of cooking all the mushrooms, add in only the chopped half. Retain the whole mushrooms and after the sauce has cooked, remove it from the heat and puree in a blender.
Meanwhile cook the whole mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil. The heat should be low and they should cook gently for around 5 minutes or until they are cooked and warm throughout. Then remove the mushrooms from the heat. After a couple of minutes add in the pureed sauce. Return the pan to the heat and warm gently until the sauce is quite hot, but try to ensure that it does not boil.
Serve immediately. It is a great starter on its own. Some people like to serve it with a nice crisp lettuce salad, but it actually works quite well without it, because it feels very luxurious and creamy and the salad can detract from this.
A nice white wine will complement this dish very well.
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