Porcini Mushroom Butter for Steak, Chicken or Jersey Royals

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Why do mushrooms like parties? Because they’re fungi(s)! OK, the joke doesn’t quite work for grammatical reasons and, dare I say it, there’s mushroom for improvement, but it makes me laugh every 10,000 times or so that I’ve told it.

But back to business. I am a devotee of the fungus family. Their woody, earthiness adds umami intensity to many dishes.

Unfortunately, few supermarkets stock a broad range, tending to only offer shed-grown bland whites and – granted – more robust chestnuts. And even these have a short shelf life, turning slimy after a few days after purchase.

That’s where dried, foraged mushrooms come into their own.

The drying process both concentrates the flavour and lengthens their consumption life, making them a convenient storecupboard staple for flavouring stocks, or using as an ingredient in everything from risottos to ravioli, soups to soufflés.

In the past, I’ve dried my own: buying fist-sized, fresh porcinis and then drying them out in a very low oven to preserve them.

When you need to use them, you just reconstitute the mushrooms by covering them with boiling water and leaving to steep for a few minutes, before draining and adding to whatever you’re cooking (never throw away the mushroom liquid – it makes sensational stock for gravy or mushroom ketchup).

But fresh porcinis are both seasonal and hard to come by so I’ve found a more convenient, all-year-round alternative: Found! Wild Mushrooms.

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They’re foraged and collected by experienced pickers from the forests and mountains of Europe, before being graded and air-dried prior to being packed.

Here’s the website www.foundmushrooms.co.uk

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I’ve used them in a variety of recipes, but this is one of my favourites: Porcini Mushroom Butter. Make a batch and freeze it, then carve off a round to melt onto steak or chicken, or in this case, steamed Jersey Royals. The natural, yielding butteryness of the potatoes is a perfect partner for the intense nuttiness of the porcinis.

Enjoy!

PORCINI MUSHROOM BUTTER

25g dried porcini mushrooms (I used Found!)
100g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp salt

1. Place half of the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside 5-10 minutes or until mushrooms have reconstituted and are soft. Drain the mushrooms and squeeze out excess water, then finely slice.

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2. Put the remaining porcini mushrooms in a spice or coffee grinder and grind to fine powder.

3. Add the butter, softened mushrooms, mushroom powder and salt to a bowl and mix together with a spoon until all the ingredients are combined.

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4. Once mixed, lay a sheet of Clingfilm onto a work surface and scrape the butter mixture onto it. Roll into log shape and twist the ends of the Clingfilm to tightly seal.

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5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just firm enough to slice.

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6. Melt onto Jersey Royal potatoes, steamed for around 10 mins until very tender. Mix with quartered, sauteed, supermarket-bought chestnut mushrooms for an extra texture experience. I served the potatoes as an accompaniment to roast Poulet de Bresse chicken.

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