Recipes are guidelines, not written in stone. It’s a mantra we repeat whenever we enter the kitchen, especially when we may be shy of an ingredient called for.
I repeated that to myself when trying this recipe freely adapted from “Joy of Cooking” (Scribner, $35). I had plenty of wanted a little extra mushroom oomph, but I didn’t have the wild mushrooms called for, so I added porcini powder to my mix of button caps and cremini mushrooms.I was fresh out of shallots, so I used little less than 1/2 cup of red onion and minced it finely.
I also like a little extra spice, so I stirred in some Indian garlic pickle. Sriracha or even a dash of hot sauce would work well.
Finally, take a tip from Irma S. Rombauer and her fellow authors of “Joy of Cooking: “Slice rather than chop the mushrooms for a meaty texture and a handsome look.”
So, here’s your outline. Make it as you like it.
3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or additional olive oil
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, preferably 12 ounces wild, wiped clean and tough stems removed, sliced
1/2 cup chopped shallots
3 tablespoons dry sherry or Madeira
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or less to taste, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock, mushroom stock or chicken stock
2 generous teaspoons porcini powder (see note)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley or fresh thyme, for garnish
Heat in a stock pot over high heat the olive oil and butter. Add the mushrooms and shallots. Cook, stirring often until the mushrooms are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add sherry or Madeira, flour and thyme, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, for 5 minutes. Stir in stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. reduce the heat the medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Ladle into warmed bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley or fresh thyme.
Note: You can get porcini powder in the spice area at Central Market.
Makes about 6 cups.
Adapted from “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker