Mushrooms of one night be the best and they be little and red within and closed at the top; and they must be peeled and then washed in hot water and parboiled and if you wish to put them in a pasty add oil , cheese and spice powder.

It’s autumn. I want easy hot lunch food that tastes nice. Mushrooms are technically out of season, but they are commonly available at any time of year now, and as I am unwilling to risk health foraging at a store is as far as I am willing to go.

Having decided to make this dish as hand pies, I had to consider the cheese. There being so few flavors, I did not want to compete with the fine spices nor the delicate flavor of the farmed mushrooms themselves. I decided that ricotta would be too wet, Camembert too gummy, and chose a queso fresco, which is like farmer cheese which has been pressed to a somewhat drier consistency.

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“Baby Bellas,” criminis,  were looking freshest, with the closed gills asked for in the recipe. Other mushrooms with other values of flavor would have been just as good, though perhaps suggesting more thought to the seasoning.

I sliced the mushrooms and poached them with the spices and salt, then decided to mince them for better texture.  I think they would have suffered had I minced them first, as mushrooms can tend to become either slippery or rubbery.

 

1 lb fresh small mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed

1/2-1 tsp poudre fine

1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4-1 tsp salt, depending on the saltiness of the cheese

1/4 c water

1-2 TBS olive oil

6-12 oz queso fresco, farmers’ cheese, or other fresh cheese

10 hand-pie wrappers of your preference. (I chose to use commercial empanada wrappers)

 

 

Taste cheese for saltiness and liquidity, set aside

Slice mushrooms.

Place mushrooms in pan with water, simmer on low until reduced in size and liquid is dark

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Add spices and salt if you are using it

Mince mushrooms if you wish.

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Allow to cool

Fold in cheese. Include any mushroom liquid which has not absorbed or evaporated

Place two ounces of the mixture on each wrapper, fold them over, and seal the edges.

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Bake at 325-350 for 10 minutes, then puncture the tops to prevent explosions

Continue baking til wrappers are browning. The filling is fully cooked, so don’t worry too much about it.

When mine had finished baking,  I brushed the tops with a little butter, You might like

to use an egg white, or to leave them plain.

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This is my Poudre Douce recipe, which I used in place of poudre fine.

1 Tbs sugar
½ Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
¼ tsp ginger

Mushroom Sauce

If you want to make a sauce of mushrooms that are boiled, pressed, and fried with oil, make the sauce like this; take onion, parsley, vinegar, and spices, and mix it with vinegar and a little water. Make pieces of the mushrooms, to fry, or serve with a fried mixture, and then put them in their sauce, or serve them grilled with salt and oil.

(part of an ongoing series in which I share recipes presented at The Lay of El Cid hosted by Barony Bhakail)

12 oz mushrooms, cleaned
2 cups water
2 oz olive oil, divided
½ oz (1 Tbs) salt
3 oz onion, minced
3 oz parsley, fresh
4 oz red wine vinegar

(thyme, savory, black pepper, or garlic would all go well with this dish)

Place clean mushrooms in pot with water. Add half of the olive oil and the salt. Simmer until mushrooms are cooked through. If water boils off, add more.

While mushrooms simmer, mince the onions, chop or scissor rinsed parsley. Prepare and measure all spices and seasonings.

Don’t add the seasonings yet

When mushrooms are cooked completely, drain water through strainer into one bowl.

Chop mushrooms very coarsely.
Add remaining oil to pan, return mushrooms, without liquid, to the pan. If needed, add small amounts of oil, but be cautious. They are spongy and can get too oily rather easily.

When mushrooms are fried, remove them to the second bowl.
Place the onions, parsley, ginger, pepper, and vinegar into the pot, and cook them through.
The onions will become transparent.
Add the mushroom broth, to the spices and oil, bit by bit. The goal is to reduce it slightly, but not to deplete it completely, while cooking the seasonings gently through.

When the sauce is reduced, return the mushrooms to the pot. Give them a quick toss, taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.

This is an excellent accompaniment to a red meat dish, filling for a turnover, salad topping, and accompaniment to a plate of cheese.

The type of mushrooms chosen affects the dish. Reducing the cooking liquid affects the density of flavor, so it is better to be parsimonious with the spices.

Serves 4

Santanach, Joan, trans. Robin Vozelgang. The Book of Sent Sovi Medieval Recipes from Catalonia. First Edition. Barcelona, Spain: Barcino-Tamesis, 2008. 76-77. Print.

Robin, Vogelzang. The Book of Sent Sovi: Medieval recipes from Catalonia. Tamesis Books, 2008. 191. Print.

Mushrooms are some of my favorite things. This is one of my favorite ways to eat them.

The instructions start with a parcook of mushrooms, the instructions are similar to modern ones.

a black pan with a tangle of slender pale mushrooms simmering

a little water, a little oil. The water boils off, the mushrooms fry instead of burning

If you want to make sauce of mushrooms that are boiled, pressed, and fried with oil, make the sauce like this:

My preferred way of cooking things like mushrooms is to put them in a pan with enough water to get them cooking, and enough oil to fry them, so they cook enough to not absorb the oil they will then fry in. It works really well.

After instructing on seasoning, the book tell us to make pieces of the mushrooms to fry, or serve with a fried mixture, and then put them in their sauce, or serve them grilled with salt and oil.

the same mushrooms, a few minutes later. Herbs and an onion have been added, the heat has been turned off

waiting for them to cool

This to me implies that the mushrooms can be served as a mince, a hash, a sauce, or served as a side dish in a more whole nature.

My decision is to cook the mushrooms with the seasonings, mince them, and stuff mushroom caps with the mushroom mince, then bake them. It’s a side dish, an hors d’ouvre, and a treat.

mushroom caps stuffed with minced mushrooms, ready to be plated.

mushrooms do deserve to be the star of the show once in a while.

 

Recipe: Sent Sovi Mushroom Sauce XVII

Ingredients

  • 1 pint mushroom caps, stems separated
  • 1/4 cup stems and mushrooms
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 sprig marjoram
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1/4 tsp mace
  • 2 Tbs onions, minced
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the stems and ugly mushrooms into a pan with the water and olive oil, simmer until the water is gone. When the water is gone, the frying begins, and stirring must commence.
  2. Mince the onions, marjoram and parsley, toss them into the pan with the spices at about the same time the water boils off.
  3. After the mushrooms are showing good color and the onions are cooked through, put in the wine vinegar with a little more water, to make sure it distributes, this will be boiled off as well and we want everything to have the brightness it adds.
  4. When the mushrooms are fully cooked, preheat the oven to 400 ( I make this as a side dish, so there’s usually a roast already in there. Just use whatever temperature it needs to be, and keep a sharp eye on them.)
  5. Mince the sauteed mix as soon as it is cool enough to handle.
  6. Place the hollow caps into a small, shallow baking dish or pan, and tuck some of the minced mixture into each one.
  7. Put a little water into the baking dish, just enough to barely cover the bottom, and if you like, place some loose foil overtop, in order to allow some steam to form and assist the cooking.
  8. When the caps are cooked through, the dish is done. It’s not the most elaborate, it doesn’t have the overwhelming richness of many modern versions, but it is intensely mushroomy, it’s vegetarian, and it’s easy to make ahead.
  9. The minced mix could be used in a number of ways, such as a tartlet filling, a kebab, or a hand-pie.

Variations

– not as rich and intense as most modern variants

– slightly fussy

+ tasty

+ veggie

+ shares an oven well

+ keeps well, reheats well.

Preparation time: 45 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Mushrooms, how I love them! Tender and tasty, it’s hard for me not to love a mushroom.

 

I fell for the funghi on a road trip with my Mom many years ago. We stopped at a country club, and split an appetizer of mushrooms in a red wine sauce for lunch.  Phenomenal. The real revelation with that dish was the idea that a button mushroom can be every bit as lush and complex as any other variety, if treated well. This recipe does treat them well.

The trick with this book is to be aware that the translator/transcriber used modern weights and measures rather than the historical ones, which can lead to misperceptions of balance. Of course, like most recipes, measures are not given for each step, so it’s more directly about portion and proportion.

(please check http://www.medievalcookery.com/helewyse/Lost_in_Translation.html for more information, the author of the page as done some excellent work breaking down the specifics of this particular title)

 

This recipe, sops of field mushrooms, calls for cooking in a casserole or ceramic pot. I did manage to scare up a ceramic pot, and can attest that it cooked rather similarly to a cast iron dutch oven, but the flavor was perceptibly different when cooked in each. The tight lid is the trick, to hold in steam and re-baste the mushrooms.

 

all ingredients and required dishes measured and in individual containers. Sliced mushrooms, chopped mushrooms, herbs, spices, water, verjus, and the ceramic pot

an old-style pyrex oven/stove pot with a glass lid would be perfect if you want a sense of what ceramic would do.

The instructions call for soaking the mushrooms in order to clear them of sand. Most modern farm mushrooms do not have this issue, but soak them anyhow in order to give them the moisture boost which will help them create the wealth of sauce which is the hallmark of the dish.

 

Ceramic pot containing mushrooms which have sweated down to about 1/4 their original size, in a vessel designed to trap and save steam. The contents of the pot are about 40% liquid at this stage. Very steamy environment, be careful when removing the lid to not get scalded.

Open the lid away from you, lots of steam.

An oddity is the guidance to grind a quarter of the mushrooms, and allow them to macerate with a very small amount of spinach tops. I handled this by making a spinach dish at the same time, and simply stole a little of the spinach.

 

cooked mushrooms on thin toasts with plenty of liquid. It is monochrome to a point, and could use some fresh herbs both for color and scent

an appetiser.

Seasoning is light, but the book does suggest the flavor be “tangy” with spice and verjus.

Recipe: to prepare sops of field mushrooms.

Ingredients

  • 48 ounces of mushrooms, set aside 12 ounces
  • an ounce and a half of wilted or thawed spinach
  • 1 oz olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • 1 TBS minced herbs (I used garlic chives)
  • 4 oz verjus

Instructions

  1. Make sure mushrooms are clean, allow to soak and drain if needed.
  2. Slice any larger than a walnut.
  3. Mince, grind, or otherwise reduce the 12 ounce portion of mushrooms.
  4. Fold minced mushrooms with spinach, set in a small bowl with some water.
  5. Set the heat on medium, put the pot on the heat, and add the olive oil.
  6. Put the other 36 ounces of mushrooms in the cooking pot, put on the lid.
  7. Check the pot every 5 minutes, there will be a lot of steam and a lot of liquid developing in the pot.
  8. When the mushrooms are reduced to about half the size, fold in the minced mushroom-spinach blend, the spices, herbs, and half of the verjus.
  9. Fold the contents of the pot, put the lid back on.
  10. After another 5 or so minutes, taste and adjust seasonings, allow to simmer for another 5 minutes
  11. Double-check seasonings, and turn off the heat when you consider the balance correct.
  12. Slice some bread rather thin, and toast it in a dry pan.
  13. Lay the toasts on plates
  14. Put mushrooms with a good amount of broth on the toasts and serve

Notes

– Mushrooms are not universally loved

-spice balance can be slightly fiddly -requires a good pot

-calls for a small amount of spinach, requiring extra planning

+requires checking in somewhat regularly, but not constant attendance

+simple assembly +Easily made in advance

+Leftovers easily converted for future use; can be frozen as-is, can be sauteed down into another dish, added to soup,

folded into a meatloaf. Not a lot you can’t do with this one.

Preparation time: 5-15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2-4