Mad about mushrooms
Recipes Alice Wilhelm, Photography Roelene Prinsloo
From forests to foodies’ plates, bearing vitamins, minerals and loads of flavour, fabulous fungi cross the borders of countries and culinary concepts.
Button mushroom soup
A delicately flavoured soup which is divine topped with fresh crunchy homemade croutons.
Serves: 4 main portions
Time: 30 minutes
1 onion, finely chopped
250g button mushrooms, roughly chopped
120g brown mushrooms, roughly chopped
125ml medium sherry
1000ml chicken stock
125g herb croutons
1 Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once heated add the onions and fry until translucent.
2 Add the mushrooms, and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until soft. Stir in flour, cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
3 Stir in the stock, a little at time, and slowly bring to the boil – simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4 Blend soup until smooth. Return to saucepan and stir in sherry and milk, then season to taste.
5 Garnish with croutons and a spoon of mascarpone on each.
Wild mushroom risotto
This is a fabulous meal served as is. The earthy flavours of the mushrooms are truly magnificent.
Time: 35 – 40 minutes
500g mixed mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
500ml Arborio rice
190ml dry white wine
30ml fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Fry the mushrooms in half of the butter, remove from the pot and keep aside for later. In the same pot used for the mushrooms, and using the remaining butter, fry the thyme and onion until translucent.
2 Add the rice and stir to coat with butter. On a low heat add the white wine, stir until totally absorbed.
3 Then add the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly, and allowing the stock to be absorbed.
4 Once the grains are al dente (cooked with a slight chewiness) add the cream a little at a time, stirring until absorbed.
5 Once all the liquid has been absorbed add the cooked mushrooms, Parmesan and parsley. Serve immediately.
Open butternut and mushroom lasagne
This is a nice vegetarian alternative to lasagne, yet very creamy and tasty.
Time: 40 minutes
250g butternut, cubed
30ml olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
250g portabellini mushrooms, quartered
5ml whole grain mustard
50g parmesan cheese
100g cheddar cheese
50g feta cheese
1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Roast butternut in a little of the oil, until the butternut is cooked but still holding shape.
2 Heat the remaining oil in a pan to fry the onion. Once translucent, add the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two. Set aside for later.
3 For the béchamel, melt the butter – once starting to bubble, add the flour and cook for a minute. Add the thyme, and slowly add the milk, stirring quickly. Cook until thickened and then add the mustard and parmesan. Season to taste
4 Boil the lasagne sheets in salted water until cooked through. Cut in half while still hot. Layer on the plate the mushroom onion mix, lasagne sheet, butternut and spoonful béchamel, then repeat layering. Finish with a lasagne sheet and cover with remaining béchamel sauce. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and feta.
5 Grill until cheese is melted before serving
Mushroom and potato bake
A staple in most of our diets and always appears when its time to braai, with the addition of mushrooms this potato bake will be the main event of the meal.
Time: 60 minutes
50g butter, melted
20ml rosemary, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
50ml chives, finely chopped
500g mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
100g white cheddar
15ml corn flour
50g feta cheese
1 Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Coat the baking dish with the melted butter.
2 Peel the potatoes and slice into thin rounds, about 5mm, and simmer in salted water on a low heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
3 Layer a quarter of the slices in the base of the dish. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over a quarter of the rosemary, garlic and chives.
4 Arrange a quarter of the sliced mushrooms on top of the potatoes and half the white cheddar. Repeat the layering in the same order, finishing with a layer of potatoes.
5 Stir the corn flour into the cream until smooth. Season the cream lightly with salt and pepper and pour over the potatoes. Sprinkle the parmesan and feta cheese on top and bake in the oven for 40 minutes until the top is golden brown.