Although you can get many mushrooms all year round, fall is really the time in France where everything seems to be in season and you can get huge amounts of mushrooms for very little money. To celebrate this fact, of course, I went out and bought the most expensive mushrooms I could find. On the way home, I stopped in Monoprix to get a few things and found a huge special display full of mushrooms. They had morels, black trumpets, shiitake, cêpes (porcini) and blewits (pied bleu, or “blue foot”). I grabbed a generous portion of the cêpes and the pied bleus and made my way home.
I’d never had pied bleu mushrooms before, and looking them up on the web revealed that they can actually be poisonous when undercooked. So I decided that I would save them for tomorrow and make a mushroom sauce to go over pasta; I don’t want to poison myself in the interest of making a quick dish.
So for tonight, I decided to make a fricasée of mushrooms and sausages. I had two leftover saucisses de Montbéliard but I think any smoky sausage would do. Anyway, the results were fantastic, so here it is my recipe, in the place of a blog entry.
[Picture taken from noodlepie's Flickr set]
Fricasée aux cêpes et saucisses de Montbéliard
- 250-500 g (about a pound) of cêpes / porcini mushrooms
- 2 medium-sized sausages (bratwurst, kielbasa, chorizo, whatever; as long as it’s a bit smoky and has some fat to contribute to the mix)
- 1 pat of butter (about ¼ cup) at room temperature
- dry white wine or lemon juice (optional)
- Slice sausages into rounds that are about ¼-inch think (½-cm) and place in a dry pan over medium heat.
- Start cleaning and slicing the mushrooms. If the mushrooms look clean, give them a quick wipe with a damp cloth and get to work. If they’re covered in dirt (like most mushrooms here), wipe the caps with a damp cloth—taking care not to get any water in the gills on the underside of the cap—and take a peeler to the stems. Don’t peel away too much of the stems! They’re the best part.
- Pull off the cap and slice at about the same thickness as the sausages. Take the peeled stems, slice in half lengthwise, and then slice to a similar thickness.
- As you’re working on the mushrooms, keep an eye on the sausages. Eventually, they’ll render their fat and then start to brown onto the pan. When they’re beginning to stick, flip them over and let them start browning on the other side.
- When there’s a fair bit of fat in the bottom of the pan and the sausages are almost entirely cooked, toss in the mushrooms.
- Mix to coat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover.
- After a few minutes (5-8 mins) the mushrooms should’ve given up a lot of their liquid. Remove the cover, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid in the pan by about half. If you like, this would also be the moment to add a splash of sherry, dry white wine, or lemon juice.
- When the sauce can cover the back of a spoon, remove from heat and mix in the butter.
- Serve as a side dish in small portions or as a main dish as one large portion.