13 Oct 2010

Wild Mushroom Pâté

Well Seasoned food blog - Foraging for wild mushrooms

I have to start this post by saying this is in no way a guide to picking and eating wild mushrooms. There, said it.

A few weeks ago I was invited to join a friend on a guided wild mushroom walk through the New Forest, so on a sunny early autumnal Saturday morning we set off with our baskets and bags. I think it’s safe to say very quickly we all realised how little we knew about what we were looking for and where to look, and most of what we found in the first hour was either poisonous or simply inedible.

Well Seasoned food blog - Foraging for wild mushrooms

However as the day unfolded we came across all kinds of edible mushrooms of different shapes, sizes, colours, smells and of course taste. Paul, who was our guide for the day (details below), was fantastic at identifying everything we found, pointing out key identifiers for different edible mushrooms and where to find them. Armed with not much more than a basket to collect mushrooms in and a spiced apple cake to keep us going we tramped about the forest for most of the day, gathering around whenever someone found something interesting to have a good look and hear all about it.

Well Seasoned food blog - Foraging for wild mushrooms

The main thing I learnt was how little I know, and although there are now a few types of mushroom I feel confident recognising if I was at all unsure I definitely wouldn’t risk eating them. A good book is a helpful starting point, I like the Mushrooms Handbook by River Cottage as it’s not only clear and concise but fun to read as well.

Well Seasoned food blog - wild mushroom pate recipe

Well Seasoned food blog - wild mushroom pate recipe

Once home I set aside my stash of large Ceps and other Boletus, which I later thinly sliced and lay out on trays, baking sheets and whatever else I could find to dry them. Paul recommended an airing cupboard or similar but as I haven’t one I simply left them on a sunny windowsill for a few days which seemed to work fine.

To clean my remaining mushrooms I used a soft cloth dampened slightly and gently wiped them clean. Mushrooms don’t like to be stored in sealed plastic bags or boxes so store them in a paper bag or in an open topped box covered with paper towel in the fridge. They can be stored this way for up to several days, that’s if you can resist them for that long!

Paul Jones is based in Hampshire and can be contacted on robertjones148@btinternet.com

Wild Mushroom Pâté

This recipe makes roughly a small bowl of pâté, the recipe can easily be doubled if you have more mushrooms.

100g mixed wild mushrooms
½ small onion
2 small cloves of garlic
2 small sprigs of thyme
Large splash of red wine, could also use white
100g cream cheese
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Finely chop the onions and garlic and place in a small pan or frying pan with a large splash of olive oil. Heat gently on a low to medium heat until the onions soften without letting them brown.

Finely chop the mushrooms and place in the pan with the onions and cook gently for a further 5 minutes until the juices begin to be released. Add the splash of wine and sprigs of thyme and season well, turn up the heat a little and cook for a further few minutes until the wine has reduced to almost nothing and there is just a little juice left in the pan along with the mushrooms.

Remove thyme stalks before tipping the mushroom mixture and all the juices into a bowl. Add the cream cheese and mix well then taste and season further if needed. At this point the mixture can be placed in a food processor to blitz or you can use a hand blender. If you prefer the pâté course then make sure the garlic, onion and mushrooms are chopped finely before cooking.

Place in the fridge to cool and set. Serve with warm buttered toast and a salad of winter greens for lunch or on small brioche toasts as a canapé.

The pâté will keep covered in the fridge for several days and after a day or two the flavour will improve. After a few days I used the remainder of mine for a simple supper stirred into tagliatelle and topped with crispy bacon bits.

1 comment:

clotilde said...

Gorgeous bounty, Gemma! And I agree, going with a trusted guide is absolutely key.

Post a Comment