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We could get depressed in Ireland with the rain, cold wind and dark evenings but we don’t cause we’ve got mushrooms! Woohoo!

Feel free to substitute a hen’s egg or omit the egg altogether if you prefer.

Mushroom ragout with poached duck egg – to serve 4

  • 15g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 600g mixed fresh mushrooms
  • 350g sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 120ml white wine
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 4 duck’s eggs
  • vinegar for poaching
  • 100g soured cream
  • 4 tbsp mixed chopped tarragon and parsley
  • truffle oil (or olive oil)

First soak the dried porcini in 200ml of water for 30 minutes. Remove any dirt from the mushrooms with either a brush or a damp piece of kitchen paper (don’t wash them).  Cut up some of the larger mushrooms so you have a mixture of large chunks and whole mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.

Cut the bread into 2.4cm cubes. Toss with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, the garlic and some salt. Spread on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until brown.

Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil into a heavy pan and heat well. Add some of the fresh mushrooms and leave for a couple of minutes, without stirring. Make sure the mushrooms are not touching each other. Turn them over when they have lightly browned and cook for another minute. Remove from the pan and continue adding more batches, adding more oil when needed. When all of the mushrooms have been browned, add a further tbsp of oil and throw in the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes, without browning. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute.

Lift the porcini out of the liquid and squeeze to get rid of the excess liquid. Add the soaking liquor to the pan, leaving behind any grit. Add 400ml of water, the thyme and some salt, then simmer gently for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to about 200ml. Strain this stock and discard the vegetables; return the stock to the pan and set aside.

To poach the eggs you need to fill a shallow saucepan with enough water for a whole egg to cook in. Add a splash of vinegar and bring to a fast boil. Carefully break an egg into a small cup and gently pour into the boiling water. Immediately take the pan off the heat and set it aside. After 6 minutes the egg should be poached perfectly. Lift it out of the pan and into a bowl of warm water. When all the eggs are done, dry them on kitchen paper.

While you poach the final egg, heat up the stock and add all the mushrooms, the soured cream, most of the chopped herbs (reserving some for garnish) and seasoning to taste. As soon as the mushrooms are hot, place some croutons on each dish and top with mushrooms. Add an egg, the remaining herbs and a drizzle of truffle oil and some black pepper.

Wine Suggestion: If you want a wine with this go for a chilled young Beaujolais Villages which will have a nice fruitiness and a complementary earthiness to match the mushrooms.

(Original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty, Ebury Press, 2010).

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