Potato and Truffle Purée

The combination of potatoes and truffle is an interesting one. Because one is the opposite of the other in terms of price and availability? Because both grow underground?

Dutch chef John Halvemaan (also winner of the prestigious Johannes van Dam prize) created a no doubt delicious combination, using butter, veal stock, parsley and cooked bacon. Also very tasty: a recipe for a gratin with crème fraîche and eggs and a recipe by chef Claude Deligne (Le Taillevent in Paris) with foie gras. All far too complex for us, so we prepared a very rich and tasty potato purée with lots of truffle.

If you look for recipes with potatoes and truffle, you will find suggestions using truffle oil. It’s not the real thing, however, if you find quality truffle oil and use only a little bit, your purée will be yummy. The sad news is that some (most?) truffle oil comes with 2,4-dithiapentane, a synthetically produced, aromatic molecule. Producers add this because it gives the impression that the oil contains truffle. Unfortunately, the flavours of 2,4-dithiapentane are not even close to the aromas and taste of a real truffle.

In this case you have to spend some money on both the truffle and the potatoes.

We combined our purée with an excellent rib eye and served it with its own jus and the purée.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Garnacha Tintorera-Monastrell 2020. An organic red wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s a full-bodied wine with soft tannins and a hint of vanilla and chocolate. In general, you’re looking for a smooth wine with notes of red fruit and oak, medium acidity and with a long, dry finish. One that goes very well with for instance red meat and game (hare, deer).

What You Need

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Egg Yolk
  • Cream
  • Milk
  • Salt
  • Winter Truffle

What You Do

Make your favourite purée! Cook the potatoes until ready (meaning: until the blade of a knife inserted in the potato goes easily through it). Drain. Mash with a fork, add cold butter, combine, add warm milk and/or cream and use a spatula to get the right consistency. You could add a beaten egg yolk (also because eggs and truffle work together wonderfully). Add salt to taste. Perhaps some white pepper. Grate the truffle and add half of it to the purée. The taste of a winter truffle benefits from the warmth of the purée. Just before serving add the remaining truffle.

Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu
Potato and Truffle Purée ©cadwu

Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root

Partridge is perhaps the most delicate of game birds. Tasty, aromatic, mild. It is also one of the most vulnerable birds, given it is under threat from loss of habitat. Especially the grey partridge is becoming scarce. They are also expensive (we paid 10 euro per partridge) and the best part of the season (September-November) is relatively short, so don’t wait too long if you want to enjoy partridge once a year, like we do.

The meat of a partridge is lean and tends to become very dry when preparing it. So what to do? Of course! Put a strip of bacon on each breast and transfer the partridge to a hot oven.
Not really. The bacon will impact the delicate taste of the partridge. And placing such a small, lean bird in a hot oven is a massive risk. Just a few minutes too long (simply because something else you are preparing takes a bit longer) and the meat is bone dry. Stuffing the partridge doesn’t help either; the filling will be moist, but the meat will be dry anyway.

The key to an excellent partridge is to be brave enough to use an oven on a really low temperature, meaning on the temperature the meat should have when it’s served, which is 70 °Celsius or 160 °Fahrenheit.  Dutch chef Peter Lute presents this method in two highly recommended videos.

Partridge combines very well with a range of vegetables and herbs. You could celebrate the end of summer by enjoying your partridge with a thyme-courgette cake. Easy to make and full of flavours. This year we decided to combine our annual partridge with Sauerkraut (Elzas-style) and Parsley Root Puree. 

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Partridge with a glass of Riesling, produced by Markus Molitor. A classic Moselle Riesling from Germany. Clear mineral aromas, also fruit, herbal, delicate and pure. Excellent with the flavors of the partridge and the sauerkraut.
In general you’re looking for an aromatic white wine, with perhaps a touch of sweetness.

What You Need

  • For the Partridge
    • Two Partridges
    • Two Garlic Cloves
    • Bay Leaf
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Sauerkraut
    • 250 grams of Sauerkraut
    • 50 grams of Bacon
    • One small Shallot
    • Bay leaf
    • Caraway (cumin)
    • Pink (or Red) Peppercorns
    • Juniper Berries
    • White wine
    • Butter
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Parsley Root Puree
    • Parsley Root
    • Cream
    • White Pepper
    • Nutmeg

What You Do

Start with preparing the sauerkraut. Slice the bacon and chop the shallot. Fry the bacon in some butter in a small iron skillet. After a few minutes add the shallot. Mix sauerkraut, pink peppercorns, crushed juniper berries, crushed caraway, white wine and a splash of olive oil. Add the sauerkraut to the skillet, add bay leaf, some butter, cover with foil and transfer to the oven (110° Celsius or 230° Fahrenheit). Leave in the oven for 4-6 hours. Check the sauerkraut every hour, mix and add water if needed.

A very helpful instruction (in Dutch) how to prepare partridge is presented and demonstrated by Peter Lute in two excellent videos. Please watch them and see how it should be done.
In summary: prepare the partridge by carefully cutting of the two legs and removing the lower part of the back of the bird (the tail bone area). Warm a heavy iron pan and add butter. Coat the birds with butter, making sure they have a very light brown colour. Transfer the pan to a warm oven: 70° Celsius or 160° Fahrenheit. Leave in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Since the oven is on the ideal temperature for the meat, it doesn’t really matter if you leave them in the oven longer. Set aside.

Peel the parsley root, chop and put in a pan with water and bring to a boil. When the parsley root is halfway, remove the water and add cream. Let cook on low heat until tender. Use a blender to create a puree. Add white pepper and nutmeg.

Add a touch of olive oil to a non-stick pan, and quickly brown the meat, skin side only. Just before serving separate the tenderloin from the breast and remove the fleece before serving the breasts. If all is well you will see a beautiful pink colour, indicating your cuisson is perfect and your partridge as tasty and delicate as possible.

Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root ©cadwu
Partridge with Sauerkraut and Parsley Root ©cadwu

Saffron Milk Cap with Squid and Tomatoes

It’s nearly the end of the season for this delicious mushroom. And what better idea than to close the season with a new recipe! Normally we would combine Saffron Milk Cap with Chorizo and roasted Bell Pepper. Thinking more about Spain and its markets (the one in Valencia is our all-time favourite) we came up with the idea of combining the mushroom with fish? Or gambas? Or perhaps squid?

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of Domaine Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet 2021. Picpoul de Pinet (Son terroir c’est la mer) is a white wine from the South of France between Narbonne and Montpellier. The terroir (think calcareous soil) is influenced by the sea, which is reflected in the mineral taste of the wine. The story is that Picpoul could be read as pique poul which translates into something like ‘stings the lip’; a nice reflection of the high acidity of the grapes. This acidity guarantees a refreshing white wine, which is exceptional given the warm climate. The wine is bright yellow with a very subtle touch of green. It’s aromatic, floral and fruity. The taste has notes of citrus and apple.
In general we suggest drinking a refreshing, unoaked white wine that goes well with seafood.

What You Need

  • For the Squid
    • 150 grams of Squid
    • 4 Tomatoes
    • One Garlic Clove
    • Red Wine
    • Thyme
    • Olive Oil
  • 150 grams of Saffron Milk Cap
  • Parsley and or Celery Leaves
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

The day before serving: clean the squid. Slice (not too thin). Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes, use a strainer to get as much tomato juice as possible. Chop the garlic finely. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced squid. Fry for a few minutes, add the garlic and the tomatoes. Reduce the heat. After a few minutes add the tomato juice, half a glass of red wine and thyme. Leave to simmer for 2 hours or until the squid is ready both in flavours and texture. Cool and transfer to the refrigerator.

The next day clean the mushroom and slice (not too thin). Chop the parsley and or celery leaves. Heat a skillet, add olive oil and add the sliced mushroom. Fry for one minute, then reduce heat. Add the squid mixture and cook for a few minutes. Taste and add cayenne pepper. You’re looking for a fairly sharp, spicy taste. Add half of the chopped parsley/celery. After a few minutes serve the mixture and garnish with parsley/celery. The idea is to have a mixture (not a sauce) of squid and mushrooms, coated with tomatoes. 

Matsutake with Garland Chrysanthemum

A very special mushroom, to say the least. Matsutake smells like a pine wood forest and its taste is intense and unique. It’s also expensive and rare. If you happen to find it, be sure to buy it.

Earlier we used Matsutake to make a soup and we combined it with spinach and ginger. In this recipe we combine Matsutake with Garland Chrysanthemum (Glebionis coronaria) also known as Tong Ho or Shungiku. It is a widely used vegetable in Japan, China, Vietnam and Korea. Its taste is delicate, a touch bitter and different (unless you’re familiar with chrysanthemum tea); one that goes very well with dashi, sesame seeds, mushrooms, mirin and soy sauce. If the vegetable is young, you can eat the stalks and the leaves. Also great as tempura. We use the leaves only for making a salad.

Wine and Sake pairing

We enjoyed a glass of Camino de Caza Almansa Sobre Lías Verdejo 2021. An organic white wine produced by Bodegas Piqueras and made with selected verdejo grapes from the Almansa region in Spain. It’s an aromatic, fresh wine with flavours that will make you think of yellow fruit (peach) and it has a welcome touch of bitterness.
The combination of the intense Matsutake and the intriguing Chrysanthemum begs for a dry, white wine with character.
You could also serve a glass of a cold, not too crispy sake, for instance a Taru Sake (a sake aged in barrels made of Japanese cedar).

What You Need

  • 75 grams of Matsutake
  • 200 grams of Garland Chrysanthemum
  • 150 ml Dashi
  • 3 teaspoons Light Soy Sauce
  • 3 teaspoons Mirin
  • Walnut Oil
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Make 150 ml of dashi. Let cool. Add light soy sauce and mirin. Mix. Remove the stems of the Chrysanthemum. Wash the leaves in water. Add to a pan with boiling water and blanch for 45 seconds. Transfer the leaves to a basin with cold water. When the leaves are cold, gently remove the excess water and transfer to the dashi mixture. Leave in the refrigerator for one hour.
Clean the matsutake. Take your time to do this. Remove the lower half of the stem. Slice the mushrooms, chop the stem. In a non-stick pan heat a little olive oil, just enough to gently fry the mushrooms. When ready, remove the leaves from the mixture, combine with the chopped mushroom, mix. Add the salad to a plate, decorate with the fried slices of matsutake and add a small drizzle of walnut oil.

  • Matsutake with Chrysanthemum ©cadwu
  • Cleaned Matsutake ©cadwu
  • Matsutake on the market ©cadwu

Saffron Milk Cap with Red Bell Pepper and Chorizo

This mushroom is absolutely delicious, which is reflected in its Latin name Lactarius deliciosus. When you cut a thin slice of the stem, you will see the intense, orange colored milk of the mushroom.
The mushroom may be a bit green, which is the result of bruising, so nothing to worry about. Cleaning it may require rinsing with cold water because leaves and mud may be stuck to the cap.

It is a popular mushroom in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Scotland, Poland, Russia and many other countries. In Spain they are combined with garlic and parsley, in Turkey with spinach to make börek or used in a rich tomato stew and in Poland and Russia they are salted with herbs such as dill and caraway.

Many recipes suggest blanching the mushrooms for 2, 3 or even 10 minutes, but that’s not necessary. Much better idea is to use them in stew like recipes, allowing for the flavours to integrate. Talking about flavours, Saffron Milk Cap is a touch nutty, sweet and mild.

The season is relatively short, from August until October, November. Which in a way makes the joy of buying and preparing these delicious mushrooms even greater!

Wine Pairing

We very much enjoyed a glass of Portuguese Segredos de São Miguel, a full bodied, warm red wine, made from grapes such as Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and Trincadeira. You will taste lots of fruit and a touch of toast.

In general you’re looking for a full bodied wine, with some acidity and smooth tannins. A glass of Malbec will also be a good choice.

What You Need

  • 150 grams of Saffron Milk Caps
  • Roasted Red Bell Pepper
  • 50 grams of Sliced Chorizo
  • Parsley
  • One Garlic Glove
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Clean the mushroom and slice (not too thin). Chop the garlic. Peel the skin of the roasted bell pepper and slice. Warm a skillet, add olive oil and gently add the sliced Spanish chorizo (yes, we know, it seems a bit odd. You would expect us to use fresh chorizo, which is great when you want to create something like a sauce or ragu, but we like the idea of being able to taste all three main elements, on their own and in combination). Add the garlic. After a minute or so add the mushrooms and the bell pepper. Fry gently. After 5 or 10 minutes add some chopped parsley. Leave on low heat. Add some more parsley. Just before serving add the remaining parsley and some black pepper.

PS

Roasting a red bell pepper before using it, is such a good idea. Simply slice the bell pepper in 4, put on the highest rack in the oven and grill for 10 minutes or until truly burned. Remove from the oven, put in a container, close it and wait for an hour or so. Remove the skin of the bell pepper and it’s ready to use. Roasted bell peppers are sweet and intense, with only a touch of smokiness.

Guineafowl and Bay Bolete

It seems to be a great year for the Bay Bolete! Earlier we wrote about this delicious mushroom and its name. The Bay Bolete is a fairly common mushroom and its flavour can be compared to that of the more expensive Cèpes or Porcini. It’s a bit more intense and especially when served with meat it is a culinary treat. We combined the Bay Bolete with guineafowl, rosemary, thyme, garlic and pancetta. Lots of flavours and aromas. An intense and great way to celebrate autumn.

Guineafowl meat is leaner, somewhat darker and more flavourful compared to chicken. It is not difficult to prepare, but due to the low-fat content you must be careful not to overcook. In this recipe we use guineafowl supreme (the breast fillet with the skin on plus the wing bone) which is perhaps the tastiest part of the guineafowl. 

Wine Pairing

We opened a bottle of Chiroubles, a cru from the Beaujolais, produced by Domaine Montangeron. The wine has floral notes and aromas of cherries and strawberries. Its colour is pale ruby. Rich, elegant and long. It brings freshness and fruitiness to the dish and is sufficiently complex to remain present when enjoying the guineafowl and the Bay Bolete.
In general you’re looking for a red wine with freshness, fruity aromas and complexity. Perhaps a Pinot Noir?

What You Need

  • 2 Guineafowl Supremes
  • Pancetta
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Olive Oil
  • 150 grams of Bay Bolete
  • One Garlic Clove

What You Do

Pre-heat your oven to 180 °C or 355 °F. Clean the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Put a sprig of thyme and rosemary on the meat side of the fillet and close it with two strings of red/white kitchen twine. Add some olive oil to an iron oven dish, add the guineafowl, meat side up, and cover with strips of pancetta (or bacon). Leave in the oven for 10-15 minutes depending on the size. Transfer the pancetta to the side of the pan, turn the meat and leave for another 10-15 minutes until done (and golden). The temperature of the meat should be minimum 70 °C or 160 °F. When the guineafowl is done, transfer from the oven, remove the kitchen twine and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Halve or quarter the mushrooms, chop the garlic very fine, fry the mushrooms in olive oil and add the garlic seconds before the mushrooms are ready. Add the mushroom mixture to the sizzling guineafowl juices in the pan and stir. Serve the guineafowl with the bay bolete on a warm plate.

Classic Cèpes

What better way to start the mushroom season than serving Classic Cèpes? The recipe is very simple and the result is about cèpes and cèpes alone. The stems a bit firm, the caps moist, the flavours intense and the taste rich and earthy, with a touch of freshness from the parsley. It’s a classic in Germany (Steinpilze auf klassische Art), France (similar to Cèpes a la Bordelaise), Italy and many other countries. 

Wine Pairing

If you want to enjoy the cèpes with a glass of white wine, then we suggest drinking one that is fresh, fruity, round and balanced, for instance of a glass of Bodegas Mocén Selección Especial made from verdejo grapes. A glass of rosé with similar flavours is also a good idea. The idea is to support the cèpes by adding fruitiness and freshness to the dish.

When you decide to drink a glass of red wine, then we suggest a full-bodied red wine with gently fruit and present tannins. 

What You Need

  • 200 gram Cèpes
  • Butter
  • One small Shallot
  • Parsley
  • Black Pepper

What You Do

Clean the mushrooms and slice lengthwise. Finely chop the shallot and the parsley. Add butter to a relatively hot heavy iron skillet. Reduce the heat and fry the cèpes for a few minutes. Add the shallot. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add chopped parsley, add more butter, black pepper and stir. Serve on a warm plate.

Mushroom Season

Hurray! The mushroom season has started! Last Saturday we bought delicious cèpes and chanterelles. Such a treat. It does of course mean that summer is over, which makes us a bit sad, but it also means the joy of eating wonderful dishes such as Cèpes à la Bordelaise or Salad with Mushrooms and smoked Duck (see below). Last year we prepared a Pâté with bay boletes, which was both beautiful and delicious. Will we be able to buy them this year? Or perhaps the intriguing Japanese Matsutake? It’s been some time since we last saw them on the market, and we would really love to make Matsutake with Spinach and Ginger again. How about Caesar’s mushroom with Udon?

Books

If you’re looking for useful mushroom recipes, then we suggest Antonio Carluccio’s The Quiet Hunt or Mushroom by Johnny Acton and Nick Sadler. Or look at our list of mushroom recipes.

Wine Pairing

Combining wine and salad is never obvious. In the case of a salad with mushrooms and duck we need to consider umami (mushrooms, duck), a touch of sweetness (smoked or cured meat) and the acidity of the dressing. We choose Domaine de Rimauresq Côtes de Provence Cru Classé rosé. A classic wine from the French Provence with grapes such as grenache noirmourvèdreugni blanc and rolle. The wine comes with delicate fruity, fresh flavours and aromas. It is very well balanced, dry and mouth filling and it combines beautifully with all aspects of the salad.
In general you’re looking for a white or rosé wine that has complexity and length, without being overpowering.

What You Need

  • 150 grams of Mushrooms (Cèpes preferred but also great with Oyster Mushrooms or a mix of Champignon de Paris, Shiitake and others)
  • Mesclun
  • Dried or Smoked Breast of Duck
  • Olive Oil
  • Vinegar (Red Wine, Jerez or Raspberry)

What You Do

Clean and slice the mushrooms. Heat a heavy iron skillet and fry the mushrooms in olive oil. Make a dressing of oil and vinegar. Toss the mesclun and the dressing. Transfer the salad to a plate, add mushrooms and finish with 3 or 5 slices of duck.

Mussels with Tomato Sauce

Earlier this month the mussels season started in the Netherlands. Time to prepare Moules Marinière, Mosselen met Look, Mussels in Beer, Mussels with Anise or Mussels with Tomato Sauce. Serve with crusted bread or French fries and you will have a delicious lunch, starter or main course.
Mussel-wise we prefer small ones, they seem to be tastier and juicier. For a lunch or starter we suggest 1 kilo for two persons, when served as a main course it’s 1 kilo per person. Please read our post about mussel basics if you’re not familiar with cleaning and cooking mussels.

Wine Pairing

The sauce is a touch spicy, so we suggest a white wine with more intense flavours. Could be a Picpoul de Pinet, could be a wine made with Verdejo or Albariño grapes. We enjoyed a glass of Bodegas Piqueras Almansa Wild Fermented Verdejo. This is an organic white wine from the Spanish Rueda region. The wine has a beautiful yellow colour. Its aromas are intense and slightly exotic. The wine has a subtle touch of wood, is balanced and has a long finish. A wine that accompanies the mussels plus the spiciness and the acidity of the sauce perfectly.

What You Need

For the Mussels

  • 1 kilo of Mussels
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 Garlic Glove
  • Bouquet Garni (Parsley, Bay Leaf, Thyme)
  • White Whine

For the Sauce

  • 4 Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Shallot
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Gloves
  • ½ Red Chili Pepper
  • Red Wine
  • Bouquet Garni (Parsley, Bay Leaf, Thyme)
  • And later on:
    • 2 Ripe Tomatoes
    • Grounded Chili Pepper

What You Do

Make the sauce one day ahead. Wash the tomatoes, the bell pepper and the chili pepper. Remove the seeds from the pepper and the bell pepper and slice. Chop the tomatoes. No need to remove the pits. Peel the shallot and garlic gloves and chop these. Glaze the onion, garlic and chili pepper in olive oil. Ten minutes on low heat. Add the tomatoes, the bell pepper, some red wine and the bouquet garni. Cook for at least two hours. Remove the bouquet garni, transfer the mixture to the blender and make a very smooth sauce. Pass through a sieve. Transfer back to the pan and reduce until it’s a nice, rich sauce. This may take 30 minutes. Cool quickly and transfer to the refrigerator. It freezes very well.

Clean the mussels with a small kitchen knife. Scrape off all the nasty bits. If you don’t do this, these will end up in your sauce and that’s not what you want.

Chop the garlic and the shallot. Warm a fairly big pan and gently glaze the shallot in olive oil. Then add the chopped garlic. Add a glass of white wine and the bouquet garni and cook on low heat for 10 minutes, allowing for the flavours to integrate.
Wash the tomatoes, remove the seeds and slice in nice small cubes. Warm the sauce. The moment you add the mussels to the pan, you add the cubed tomatoes to the sauce. Add some chilli powder to the sauce, just to give the sauce an extra push.
Turn up the heat to maximum and when really hot add the mussels and close the pan with the lid. Listen and observe: you will be able to hear when content of the pan is becoming hot again. You will see steam, more steam. Check the status of the mussels. Close the lid, listen and observe. Overcooking the mussels will make them chewy which is awful. Remove mussels with a slotted spoon, transfer to a warm soup dish and label the warm and spicy tomato sauce over the mussels.
You could add a spoonful of cooking liquid to the sauce, if you want to.

Mussels with Tomato Sauce ©cadwu
Mussels with Tomato Sauce ©cadwu

Mushroom Cream Sauce from 1790

This recipe for a rich and tasty sauce is included in Het Receptenboek van mevrouw Marselis (the recipe book of Mrs. Marselis), published in the Netherlands in 1790. The combination of mushrooms, cream and nutmeg works remarkably well. One to prepare more often!

Mrs. Marselis doesn’t mention what the sauce is supposed to accompany. In this case we decided to combine it with pasta, making it a nice vegetarian dish, but we could also imagine combining it with veal or chicken. 

Wine Pairing

We suggest drinking an excellent rosé with the sauce, one with flavour, fruit, depth and refreshing acidity. For instance Monte del Frà Bardolino Chiaretto. This is a very affordable, tasty rosé with just the right balance between serious flavours, freshness and fruitiness.

What You Need

  • Mushrooms
  • Nutmeg
  • Flour
  • Chicken Stock
  • Cream
  • One egg
  • Butter
  • Lemon
  • Spaghetti

What You Do

We used yellow chanterelles, but you could also use Champignons de Paris. Clean and chop the mushrooms (we didn’t peel them, sorry Mrs. Marselis) and glaze them in butter. When glazed, sprinkle some flour over the mushrooms and stir. After a few minutes, slowly start adding chicken stock to make the beginning of a sauce. Add cream to the pan and some freshly grated nutmeg. Leave on low heat for at least 10 minutes. Beat one egg yolk. Slowly add the mixture from the pan to the egg yolk (marrying the sauce). Then add the egg yolk and cream mixture back to the pan. Warm carefully, otherwise it will split, or you just cooked an omelette. Taste and add a drop of lemon to make the sauce a touch fresher and lighter. No need for pepper or parsley.

We served the sauce with spaghetti and used the cooking liquid to give the sauce the right consistency.