A famous Vegetarian Chef shares a great recipe for Mushrooms as a main course.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s posts on Chewing The Fat are some of its most popular recipes. The British-Israeli-Italian’s story has been told in great detail in some of them, the links to which you’ll find before we get to today’s triumph by Ottolenghi. He writes a column for The Guardian newspaper in England called “The New Vegetarian”. Today’s recipe is, Ottolenghi wrote, “My ideal solace for a gloomy winter night”. I don’t think this wonderful dish is a bit out of place on a Spring menu regardless of whether it’s gloomy or not. This is so good, you’ll want to expand its season. This truly is vegetarian. There’s no sneaking in some beef stock to up the robust quality of the dish. It relies on the meaty quality of an array of mushrooms, the extra flavor of reconstituted dried porcinis, and a vegetable stock made from a standard mirepoix. You could, of course, cheat and use a premade Vegetable stock but, if you run into Ottolenghi, don’t tell him I told you that.
Croutons so golden and delicious, you may have to control yourself to get them on the plate.
Besides the mushrooms, the other key element here is the Croutons. Made from sourdough bread, tossed in Olive Oil, Garlic and Salt, they emerge from the oven golden and crispy and so irresistible, contain yourself from eating too many of them before they get on the plates. The Croutons are so appealing, it’s almost a shame that they’ll end up under the mushrooms. After the mushrooms have cooked and the sauce has been reduced, Sour Cream is mixed in to give the richness of the dish a little acid.
Everything you need to know about how to poach an egg…video instructions included.
The crowning glory of the dish is the glorious poached egg that tops the Mushroom Ragout. The original recipe calls for Duck Eggs. And be my guest and use them if you can find them. I substituted Large Brown Hen’s Eggs which worked well here. How to make a perfect poached egg? I like the method I Iearned from the Egg Farmers of Canada. You can go to their site and follow along with their video instructions. Here’s the link: https://www.eggs.ca/eggs101/view/8/how-to-poach-an-egg-like-a-pro. It’s really that easy. Put your poached egg atop the ragout. Don’t forget the herbs. They not only add flavor, but they also make the dish look wonderful. After this superb recipe, a couple of other Ottolenghi recipes you might like.
Yotam Ottolenghi's Mushroom Ragout with a Poached Egg
A great Vegetarian main course full of meaty flavor without so much as an ounce of meat.
- ½ oz. (15g) dried porcini
- 1 ½ lb. (600g) mixed mushrooms (wild and/or cultivated)
- 12 oz. (350g) sourdough bread
- 1/3 cup (100ml) olive oil (divided)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- ½ cup (120ml) white wine
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ Cup (100g) soured cream
- 4 tbsp chopped tarragon and parsley
- 4 duck or hen’s eggs, freshly poached
- A drizzle of truffle oil (or olive oil)
- Step 1 Soak the porcini in water for 30 minutes. Gently brush the fresh mushrooms, then cut the larger ones so you have a good selection of whole or large chunks. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
- Step 2 Remove the crust from the sourdough, and cut the bread into roughly 1-inch cubes. Put these in a bowl, add two tablespoons of oil, two cloves of crushed garlic, and a pinch of salt, and toss. Spread the croutons on an oven tray and toast in the oven for 17 minutes, turning a few times, until they are nice and golden all over.
- Step 3 Heat a tablespoon of oil in a heavy saucepan. Add some of the mushrooms, leave undisturbed for a minute or two so they don’t exude their juices, then, once lightly browned, turn them over for another minute. Remove from the pan and repeat in batches with the remaining mushrooms, adding a tablespoon of oil every time. Once all the mushrooms have been seared, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and throw in the onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté on medium heat for five minutes without browning. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute. Strain the porcini, squeeze out the liquid, and tip the soaking liquids into the pan. Add enough water to bring up to 600ml.
- Step 4 Add the thyme and a little salt, and simmer slowly for 20 minutes, or until you are left with just under a cup of liquid. Strain, discard the vegetables, and return the liquids to the pan.
- Step 5 When ready to serve, reheat the stock, add the mushrooms, sour cream, and the herbs (reserve some to garnish), and season to taste.
- Step 6 As soon as the mushrooms are hot, place four croutons on each serving dish. Top with mushrooms, a warm poached egg, the remaining herbs, a drizzle of oil, and some black pepper.