The first of the food blogs
Autumn; game, mushrooms, fruit, nuts….. especially mushrooms, especially if it stops raining and we have a few warm dry days. Firstly, yes, we do get Ceps in England and indeed in Hampshire, where they grow on warm sandy sites and we have a few. Also some of the other Boletes, such as Bay Boletes and Red-cracked Boletes are common and these are useful too.
The Cep, Porcini or Penny Bun, king of mushrooms
The first recipe is a northern Spanish classic. I first had it when we were setting up the Rioja Vineyard Walk and was hooked instantly. The trick is to get the liquid right, you don’t want too much of it coming out of the Ceps (and prawns) at a late stage in the process.
The second is a Veronese Risotto, hence it uses the super-absorbent Vialone Nano rice and not much stirring. It should be creamy but the rice grains should be fairly firm still.
And the third is one of my own, a rich Pheasant casserole-roast
REVUELTOS CON SETAS (Scrambled Eggs with Ceps) Serves 2
Ingredients: 4 large good quality Eggs.
16 medium sized prawns (Optional)
100 – 150g Ceps
Dash of mild olive oil 30g butter / Bertoli
A little lemon juice Salt Chopped Parsley
Discard any damaged parts of the Ceps.
Cut Ceps into thick slices
If using uncooked prawns, cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes.
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Season.
Fry the Ceps with little mild olive oil in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat for about 2 minutes – stirring.
Add a few drops of lemon juice and some salt, but NO pepper. Vap off any juice.
Bring the temperature down and add the Prawns if you are using them.
Add a little butter / Bertoli or something similar, to the pan.
Pour the egg into the pan and cook on a gentle heat stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until it is cooked.
Add chopped parsley and serve.
Delicious, but pretty hopeless with wine. Better than straight scrambles eggs, I suppose, so you could try Champagne…. I think I had a Sin Crianza red Rioja with it the first time I had it, which clearly made an impact.
FRESH & DRIED BOLETUS RISOTTO
Ingredients: Double handful fresh edible Boletus, ideally Ceps.
Dried wild mushrooms.
150 grams Nano (or Arborio Rice)
1 medium onion
1 medium Leek
Half bottle dry white wine
Clove of garlic, crushed.
Mushroom stock – (or some good chicken stock).
Chopped parsley leaves and Chopped parsley stalks.
PREP: Soak Dried Mushrooms in hot water for several hours.
Then cut into julienne strips & half these lengthways,
the pieces will be roughly the same size as a fully inflated grain of Nano rice.
(The dried Mushrooms bring great flavor, but their texture is uninteresting).
Reserve the juice.
Cut the Fresh Mushrooms into ¾ inch-ish hunks.
Cut leaks into 1 inch by ¼ inch-ish strips.
Heat oil, add rice & chopped onion.
Fry the rice, but do NOT burn.
Once it has gone white / brown round the edges, add half bottle of white wine;
vap this off on a high heat for a couple of minutes.
Turn heat down to medium.
Add a small mug of stock, the crushed clove of garlic and a little salt;
Cover. Do not stir.
After 5 mins, add leak, dried mushrooms.
Test the rice, add another cup of stock.
Cover. Do not stir.
A couple of mins later check the rice again, it should be nearly cooked and fairly dry.
If it’s still hard, add more stock….
When the rice is nearly cooked
add the chopped fresh Mushrooms and chopped parsley stalks.
Add large knob of butter or similar, stir in.
Stir well, scaping off the bottom and folding back in.
Add rough chopped parsley leaves.
Check seasoning and add more salt if needed
OPT. You can add Parmigiano, but take care that it doesn’t swamp the flavour.
You can dry your own Boletus. Ceps can be found in Southern England, and there are many other members of this family which you can find even more easily such as Red cracked Boletus, which do dry well.
This is a Veronese style Risotto so it calls out for a good Valpolicella Classico.
PHEASANT, CEPS & ROSEMARY Serves 4!
Ingredients: 2 young pheasants
Rosemary – a couple of large sprigs
2 cloves garlic
Double handful of Ceps and other wild mushrooms.
2 medium onions rough chopped.
Some red wine
Salt & Pepper
PREP: Take 2 young pheasants that died off fright rather than getting both barrels.
Make sure that ALLthe shot and bits of feather are removed.
Cut the Pheasant in half down backbone, and remove ribcage.
Remove legs & cut off the drumsticks which go into the stockpot.
Debone the thighs. Reserve thigh meat.
MAKE THE STOCK: Chop up carcass with a small axe.
Put it in large saucepan with small bits of meat and fat, skin and drumsticks.
Add a little oil & rosemary, brown.
Cover with boiling water. Boil to make stock. If you have tons of time before serving make a concentrated stock now!
Or if not, GET IT GOING and get it well reduced by serving time….
ROAST: To a large deep frying pan, add some olive oil, the Pheasant pieces, salt and black pepper, several 2 inch sprigs of Rosemary and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic. Brown the Pheasant!
Remove and put in a casserole /oven pan.
Arrange so breasts are skin-up. Make sure there is a sprig of rosemary under each piece.
All thigh-meat and any small bits should be lumped together so they don’t dry out.
Add a couple of slugs of red wine and some stock (esp the fat from the top).
Put into oven @ 200 for 30 mins, basting after 15 mins with more fatty stock.
Then take out of oven, rest in a warm place.
Put the rosemary & juices into the stockpot.
FINISHING THE SAUCE:
Get 2 rough chopped medium onions on to fry in olive oil for several mins.
Deglaze the cooking pan with a decent slug of red wine. – Add to stock pot which should still be reducing well.
Add the small Pheasant bits & thigh meat to the onion.
Add sliced ceps & other mushrooms.
Add the reduced stock through a sieve.
Check seasoning, adjust salt and pepper in needed, (however the Roast Veg should be well salted so the stock should not need more).
The final consistency is a reduced sauce, not a liquid!
On each plate, place a breast and cover with sauce, making sure all get some thighmeat and plenty of mushrooms.
Accompanied by Roasted root veg, including sweet potatoes.
And roast potatoes of course.
WINE: A really good red burgundy with a few years ageing behind it. A Nuits-St Georges, Vosne from the south side of the village, a Gevrey or a Pommard should be ideal.