Wild Mushroom Ragout

There are few things I love more than wild mushrooms.  I do not, however, trust the husband as he hunts for them.  He has more courage than I do, and well, I like my liver as it is, thank you.

Well, Greens Restaurant and the Berkeley Bowl to the rescue again. As is typical though with this cookbook, set aside some time. But truly, it is worth it.  Take a couple of days (make the stock one day, the ragout the next.  You know how to roll).  You could take lots of short cuts, but in the end, I am not sure those shortcuts would be worth it.  Instead, follow along and get the results of um, wow.

In other news, I am gearing up for summer.  There will be three (!) instances of professional development.  There will be trips to Illinois.  There will be two instances of me presenting to teachers (or would-be teachers) as favors to friends.  There will be many excursions to the beach.  There will be a niece who visits California.  It will be grand, and I will be rested.  

In the mean time, time for some mushrooms.

One Year Ago: Mexican Wedding Cookies
Two Years Ago: Spinach Souffle
Three Years Ago: Loin Lamb Chops with Jalapeno Preserves


Wild Mushroom Ragout
Adapted from  Greens

The Stock
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 cups cold water
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
½ oz. dried mushrooms (porcini or shitake)
¼ lb. fresh mushrooms  (I like portobellos + trimmings from the mushrooms for the ragout)
2 small bay leaves
Pinch of dried sage and thyme (if you have fresh, a couple of leaves/stems of each)
1 carrot, peeled a chopped into 4-5 chunks
1 celery stalk, chopped into 4-5 chunks
4 parsley stems
½ teaspoon salt

1.  Cook the onions in the oil in a heavy bottomed stock pot at medium-high heat until
they are well-browned (about 15 min).

2.  Add the water and the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer slowly for 30 min.
3.  Remove the dried mushrooms and set aside for the ragout.  Strain stock through a fine sieve or double cheesecloth.  Press firmly to get as much liquid as possible from the stock.

4.  Return the stock to the stove, and, reduce the clear stock to 3 cups.

The Ragout
1½ lb of wild mushrooms (use portobellos for 1 pound and then whatever else is in the market for the remaining ½ lb (chanterelles, oyster, morels, shiitake))
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped in ¼ inch squares
1 medium carrot, cut into ¼ inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into ¼ inch slices
½ teaspoon of salt
1 cup red wine
4 tablespoons olive oil
Pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Reserved dried mushrooms from the stock, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour  (I used brown rice flour, keeping in the gluten-free theme)
Mushroom Stock from above
Fresh parsley and tarragon leaves, finely chopped

1.  Clean the mushrooms and slice into ¼-inch thick slice.

2.  Warm the olive oil in a large soup pot and cook the onion over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 15-20 minutes.  Stir occasionally, then more often as the onion continues to brown.  Add salt and wine; bring to a fast simmer and reduce the liquid by half.  

3.  Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat the oil and cook the wild mushrooms and the reserved dried mushrooms from the stock in batches until they begin to give up their liquid. Season with salt and pepper and the garlic, using some with each batch until the garlic is all used up. 

4.  Add the mushrooms to the onion/celery/carrot mixture.  Add the flour and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring throughout.  Add the stock and cook over a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

5.  Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper.  Serve over accompaniment of your choice (I went the brown rice route, but polenta, pasta, or between layers of puff pastry all sound yummy to me).


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