Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Meat and mushroom stew

  A one pot stew has to be one of the easiest and yet most delicious ways to use wild mushrooms, perfect for a cold autumn evening.  A mixture of fresh Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa), dried Parasol (Macrolepiota procera), and dried Porcini (Boletus edulis) mushrooms were used for this recipe, along with a handful of mushrooms from my dried 'mixed mushroom' pot, which I think were mostly Trumpet Chanterelles (Cantharellus tubaeformis) and Charcoal Burners (Russula cyanoxantha).  Beef shin was used as it has a good fat content, which is perfect for slow cooking in a stew.

A perfect young Hen of the Woods specimen

Mushroom selection. Rehydrating Porcini mushrooms at the bottom right


- Diced beef shin
- Selection of fresh/dried mushrooms
- Two glasses of red wine
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 bay leaves
- Flour
- Salt and Pepper

Only one vessel needed for this recipe, preferably a heavy-bottomed casserole pot. Firstly, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Coat the chunks of beef shin in seasoned flour, then add olive oil to the pan and start browning off the beef in batches, putting the browned beef to one side.  After all the beef is done, put it back in the pot along with the red wine, fresh/dried mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and enough water to just cover everything.  Put in the oven for a few hours, checking it every half an hour and topping up the liquid if necessary. Season to taste, and serve. 

Although the dried Porcini give the stew a wonderfully mushroomy flavour, the star of the show was the dried Parasol mushrooms; they act like a sponge and take in all the sauce, giving off an explosion of flavours when eaten.  Hen of the Woods retains its firm texture even after slow cooking, and is a great addition to the dried mushrooms.  This was served on mash with carrots and a foraged salad of Chickweed, Hairy Bittercress, Black Mustard and Sorrel - see previous post.

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