I came home from last weekend’s Arizona Mushroom Club foray with a nice bounty of king boletes, both the regular (Boletus edulis) and white (B. barrowsii) types.
The older and softer ones with yellowing pores went into my new dehydrator for 12 hours, and turned out beautifully. The porcini we dry ourselves look so much cleaner and more appetizing than the store-bought kind.
I also had a decent haul of smaller, younger, pristinely clean “bouchons”, named for their resemblance to French champagne corks, which we decided to eat while still fresh. Some of them were made into a delicious omelet that fed the whole family, but I wanted to try something else.
I found a food blog called Use Real Butter that has a wealth of recipes for mushrooms and other foraged foods, as well as an extremely wide variety of regular gourmet cooking. It is one of the best food sites I have ever discovered. Not only are the recipes delicious and relatively low-hassle, but they are beautifully photographed, and accompanied with interesting and erudite commentary.
I tried her recipe for Fresh Porcini Mushrooms and Pasta, using cheese and spinach tortellini instead of noodles because that’s what I had on hand. Simple, quick, and out-of-this-world delicious!
A day or two later I decided to employ some of my newly dehydrated king boletes to help improve the flavor of a 4-lb chuck roast that needed using up. I came across a very tasty recipe for Stracotto (Italian-style pot roast) from Giada de Laurentiis of the Food Network. Cooked it up beautifully in a Dutch oven. I had some very fresh organic onions and garlic from my cousin John Kennedy‘s garden at Poppy Hill Farm, which only added to the lip-smacking savor.
Prior roast recipes I’ve done typically direct that the vegetables and drippings in the bottom of the roasting pan be strained before adding a roux in order to make up a gravy, but in this case, all of the pan vegetables and drippings (including the now-cooked porcini) are blended smoothly together in a thicker, richer brown soffrito sauce that is applied to the sliced roast before serving.
My only problem was that the pan vegetables got rather dried out by the end of the cooking time. The sauce thus produced was very thick and pretty strongly flavored, and like a lot of preparations made with dried porcini, Less is More. I’d set some aside for future use in soups or other dishes, and don’t put as much on your roast beef as the photos suggest. I’d also use more wine and/or beef broth than the recipe calls for, and perhaps add a small amount of cream to the sauce while you’re simmering it down.
That said, the beef cooked up fork-tender, and with the rich sauce, was plate-licking delicious. Highly recommended. If you have some dried porcini on hand, this is an excellent way to get the most out of it.
Happy porcini hunting! Hopefully there are a few more weeks of the bolete season still left in Arizona.
P.S. While putting this post together, I also found a recipe for porcini-rubbed prime rib roast that looks easy and exceptionally delicious. Stay tuned! That’s next!