Forest mushroom “grubotto”
Latvians are wild when it comes to mushroom picking. September arrives with pictures in social media of who has gathered how much. I’m no different. I step into the forest and do my thing, just like I did with my grandmother every summer – starting with the first chanterelles and lasting until the final mushrooms vanished from the forests. We would walk kilometers looking for small mushroom caps (eating blueberries and lingonberries on our way) – any kind, because she marinated, boiled and did all sorts of things with them, so that during the winter we could pop open jars of mushrooms. Nowadays, we have forgotten about the beauty of every mushroom and the hunt for porcini (the smaller the better), but I believe there is magic in mixing all of them together in one pan and adding them to salads or having them just like that with some cheese or in a creamy “grubotto”. So, we did go to the forest – twice this week. While others found many baskets of porcini, we had exactly one big and one small basket of chanterelles and many other mushrooms, and this was exactly what made this grubotto so special.
for the mushrooms:
600 g forest mushrooms (we used chanterelles, porcini and other frying mushrooms)
20 ml oil for mushrooms
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp grapeseed oil for frying
40 g peeled red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
300 g pearl barley
200 ml creamy white wine
1.5 l chicken or rooster broth (we had the carcass from this recipe)
300 ml sweet cream
50 g butter
40 g hard cheese, finely grated
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
40 g melted caramelized butter
tiny bit of summer savoury, chopped
Heat the oil in a pan and sweat the onions with the garlic on a low heat for about 15 minutes until they are soft, but definitely do not brown.
Add the pearl barley and fennel and cook for about 3 minutes until you can start to smell the barley. Add the wine and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. Add 300 ml of the broth and stir occasionally until all the broth has been absorbed. Continue this process until all of broth has been added (around 40 minutes in our case).
In the meantime, heat the pan, add oil, mushrooms and rosemary and fry on medium high heat until ready (around 15 minutes). At first, there will be some liquid (the quantity depends on whether there was rain or not when they were picked), but it will evaporate. Fry them until they are a bit golden, but still juicy. At the end, mix in garlic and add a tiny bit of salt and pepper.
Finish the grubotto. At the very end, when barley is ready, add the cream, 3/4 of the mushrooms, and boil until it has thickened a bit, but is still quite runny. Remove from heat, add the hard cheese and butter, and stir. Put the lid on the pan and let stand for 1 minute. Serve on a big plate, topped with rest of the mushrooms, basil, summer savoury and butter.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s
Plates and table decorations: HM Home