The Mushroom Feast

Yes, it’s a bit early, but we can start thinking about enjoying the first mushrooms of this season, such as the Mushroom of Saint GeorgeMorels, Bianchetti and the Fairy Ring Mushroom. Let’s be prepared for the season and think about books, recipes, web sites and food-wine pairing.

A classic book on mushrooms was written by chef and author Jane GrigsonThe Mushroom Feast, originally published in 1975. The book Is beautifully illustrated by Yvonne Skargon.
Jane Grigson is known for many other classics such as The Fruit Book and The Vegetable Book.

The Mushroom Feast includes a chapter on the best edible mushrooms and ways to preserve mushrooms. Other chapters describe how to combine mushrooms with fish, meat, poultry and game. One chapter discusses mushrooms in the Japanese and Chinese kitchen.
Jane Grigson also provides interesting background information, like Colette’s view on truffles. Worth reading, with or without truffles.

It isn’t a handbook for foragers, but no book ever is.

The Mushroom Feast covers a wide range of mushroom recipes: soups, salads, pies, sauces and intriguing combinations like creamed cucumbers with mushrooms and classics like mushroom soufflé. The recipes are clear and well-written.

You may perhaps think the recipes are a bit old fashioned, but that shouldn’t stop you from reading them. Be inspired by one of Britain’s finest writers on recipes and food.

Fairy Ring Mushroom with Pork Chops

Spring brings us several edible or even delicious mushrooms, such as the Fairy Ring Mushroom, Morels and the Mushroom of Saint George.

The Fairy Ring Mushroom is a very common mushroom in many countries. The name is not very helpful since many mushrooms grow in the pattern of a ring. The German and Dutch names (Rasen-Schwindling and Weidekringzwam) are more helpful; these refer to the fact that they grow in meadows and lawns.

In France the Mushroom of Saint George is called mousseron and the Fairy Ring Mushroom faux mousseron. But because of the limited availability of the Mushroom of Saint George the faux (false) is dropped in the second name and the Fairy Ring Mushroom is often referred to and sold as mousseron.

It’s a small, very edible mushroom, available from early spring until late autumn. Its taste is a bit sweet and perhaps that’s why some people suggest using them to make sweet cookies. Hm, we think you can do better than that!

We combine the Fairy Ring Mushroom with excellent organic pork (also a touch of sweetness), cream, white wine, fresh sage and a splash of cognac to give the dish a nutty component.

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our Fairy Ring Mushrooms and pork with a glass of Austrian Zweigelt, produced by Weingut Prechtl. This red wine is fruity and elegant with notes of blackberry and cherry. The tannins are well structured but not overly present. In general you’re looking for a full bodied red wine with fruit and not too much acidity.

What You Need

  • 2 Organic Pork Chops with lots of nice fat (Sirloin or Shoulder)
  • 100 gram of Fairy Ring Mushroom
  • Half a glass of Dry White Wine
  • Fresh Sage
  • Chicken Stock
  • Crème Fraîche
  • Splash of Cognac
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Start by cleaning the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Remove the stems. Fry the caps in olive oil. When the liquid has evaporated, add some dry white wine and two finely chopped leaves of sage. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or so. Add some crème fraîche and a few moments later a splash of cognac. Stir and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes. In parallel fry the pork chops until brown and leave to rest in aluminium foil. Remove the pork fat from the pan and deglaze with chicken stock. Reduce. Now add the liquid from the pan to the mushrooms, add more finely chopped sage and some black pepper.

  • Fairy Ring Mushrooms with Pork ©cadwu
  • Fairy Ring Mushrooms ©cadwu
  • Zweigelt made by Weingut Prechtl