Friday, October 1, 2010

Fabulous Fungi - The Best Mushroom Sauce

Well, I am well and truly settled into my new kitchen and despite it being a lot smaller than my last one, it is actually much better designed. I'm enjoying the compact space that still manages to give me a decent amount of bench to work with and also the open plan aspect, so I'm not locked away from my guests as I cook. I'm loving the new house and the new garden. Last weekend we planted a whole range of different types of herbs, including English and continental parsley, chives, rocket, lemongrass, sage, rosemary, thyme, chillies, tarragon, oregano, coriander. We also planted baby cos lettuce, tomatoes and capsicums - as well as lavender, daisies, beautiful purple pansies, red impatiens, bromeliads, ivy, violas and scented climbing jasmine.

We have also added a large hardwood garden setting (thanks EBay) so that we can sit out and enjoy it all. Can't wait to be able to pop out the back and pick my own herbs and veges and to see how the garden changes with the seasons. The soil is chock full of worms and is dark and rich. The yard gets sun all day too, so I think we will do pretty well - fingers crossed. There will be more veges and flowers going in over the coming weeks.

Now to today's recipe. Last night we had a pretty simple Scotch Fillet steak and vegetables (the new seasons broad beans were at the grocer, along with asparagus and small young spring zucchini, so that's what I chose to serve. I just steamed them a little - that's all they needed) but I decided to make my decadent, rich mushroom sauce to accompany the meal. It is quick and easy to make, but isn't your standard mushroom sauce.

The secret to this sauce is the mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms. It gives a wonderful richness and depth of flavour that you just won't get from fresh mushrooms alone. I was lucky enough to come across dried wild mushrooms (a combination including lovely golden Chanterelles, Porcini and Morels) but you could use any kind of dried mushroom. Chinese grocers are a great source of dried mushrooms if you can't find any in your supermarket or gourmet store. I have made this sauce very successfully using the dried Shitake mushrooms that you can get very easily these days.

Feel free to experiment with different varieties of fresh mushrooms too. I used simple button mushrooms this time - but you can use any kind. You could use a mixture of varieties of fresh mushrooms to add more complexity to the sauce. Oyster mushrooms, Swiss Browns, Pines - they will all work beautifully. The only variety I probably wouldn't use are Enoki mushrooms, as they are too delicate for this dish I think.

The recipe below will make enough sauce for 2-4 people depending on how generous you want to be with the servings. You can also make the sauce to serve on toasted woodfired bread. It would make a great vegetarian entree or rich breakfast. This sauce has big flavours and is very rich, so a little will go a long way.

Here's how I served it for diner last night -

Scotch Fillet and Wild Mushroom Sauce
- served with fresh broad beans, asparagus and young zucchini

You will need: A handful dried wild mushrooms, a couple of handfulls sliced fresh mushrooms, 1 cup cream, 3 teaspoons Worchestershire Sauce, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, any juices from the steak (reserved), a couple of teaspoons of chopped parsley or chervil (optional)

Method: Place your dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for about 20mins. Scoop them out and squeeze them gently to remove excess water. Set the dried mushrooms aside.

Cook your steak to your liking and leave it to rest while you make the sauce.

Using the pan that you used to cook your steak, melt the butter. Add the fresh mushrooms and allow them to cook for about a minute. Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms until they start to brown a little.

Add the cream, mustard and Worchestershire Sauce and combine well. Allow to simmer gently until the sauce starts to thicken. Add any juices from the meat that has been resting and combine well. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve the sauce over the steak with a sprinkling of the fresh herbs.



  1. Oh how I love mushrooms on a steak. But a mushroom sauce, this is going to be good, thanks so much.

  2. Let me know how you go - it really is a lovely one!The dried mushies make such a difference.