Wild Mushroom Soup with Green Garlic and Toasted Barley

“medicinal mushrooms have been shown to boost heart health, lower the risk of cancer, promote immune function, ward off viruses, bacteria and fungi, reduce inflammation, combat allergies, help balance blood sugar levels and support the body’s detoxification mechanisms”

Wild shiitake, maitake and porcini mushrooms are simmered in homemade vegetable stock with green garlic, onions, parsley, sherry and toasted barley and seasoned with fresh thyme, sea salt and black pepper.  A drizzle of truffle oil seals the deal..

Wild Mushroom Soup with Toasted Barley

Serves 2

2 cups homemade vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups dried shiitake, maitake and porcini mushrooms
1/2 cup barley
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 bulbs green garlic, including leaves, sliced
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons truffle oil, divided
1 1/2 oz medium sherry
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Bring vegetable stock to a boil then remove from heat.  Add mushrooms and steep for 1 hour.

Heat butter and half of the truffle oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add barley and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Roughly chop re-hydrated mushrooms and add to the pan with thyme.  Add strained mushroom soaking liquid and simmer until barley is tender, about 25 minutes.  Add sherry, parsley and simmer 5 minutes.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve garnished with a sautéed mushroom cap and a drizzle of truffle oil.

This post is part of The Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!

Lobster Bisque

Maine lobster, cream, dry sherry, aromatic herbs and vegetables and shaved black truffles.  A classic..

Lobster Bisque

Lobster Bisque

Serves 2

2 shell-on Maine or Canadian lobster tails, as fresh as possible
1 1/2 cups court-bouillon or fish stock
4 oz fresh cream
1 oz brandy
2 oz dry sherry
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/4 fresh lemon, cut into wedges
1 carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 sweet bulb onion, split and thinly-sliced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 Roma tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon half-sharp paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
8-10 smoked black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
butter

Sauté celery, onions, carrots, tomatoes, herbs and lobster shells in a tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender and the shells have turned bright red in color.

Add sherry and brandy and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, then add court-bouillon, lemon, pepper and paprika, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.

Run a wooden skewer lengthwise through each lobster tail, then lower into the liquid and gently poach for 2 minutes.  Remove lobster from pan and allow to cool enough to handle.

Pour stock through a fine strainer into a clean saucepan, pressing on and discarding the solids.  Whisk in tomato paste and simmer until reduced by about 1/3 in volume.

Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and cook sweet onions until translucent.  Add chopped parsley, lobster medallions and any remaining pieces of lobster meat and gently poach until the lobster is just done.

Whisk the cream into the bisque, then finish with 2 tablespoons of the onion, butter and parsley mixture.

To serve, ladle bisque into a shallow bowl and arrange butter-drenched lobster medallions and pieces on top. Season lightly with freshly-ground black pepper and Maldon sea salt and garnish with fresh tarragon, thinly-shaved black truffles and bits of edible flowers.

Pan-Roasted Duck Breast with Blackberry and Cranberry Chutney

Succulent, aged Moulard duck breast with thyme, bay and a hint of freshly-grated nutmeg is pan-seared, then quickly roasted to a perfect medium-rare.  Served with Armagnac-flamed pan juices, asparagus with garlic and parsley root, and gingered wild blackberry and cranberry chutney..

Pan-Roasted Moulard

Pan-Roasted Moulard with Blackberry/Cranberry Chutney

For the Chutney

1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 tablespoon rendered duck fat
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-grated ginger
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 cup fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1/2 cup wild blackberries
salt and pepper

Sauté the onions in duck fat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, vinegar, honey and cranberries. Lower heat, cover and simmer until all the cranberries have popped, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Adjust sweetness/tartness with a little vinegar or honey if you think it needs it, then season to taste with sea salt and cracked pepper. The finished mixture should be thick.

For the Duck (adapted from a recipe by Thomas Keller)

1/2 fresh Moulard duck breast (about 1 pound)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup Armagnac

Use a sharp, thin knife to score a cross-hatch pattern into the fat side of the duck breast, taking care not to cut into the muscle.  Season on all sides with salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg, then lay bay leaves against the flesh, loosely wrap in butcher’s paper and refrigerate overnight.

Allow to duck breast to sit on the counter for 20 minutes while you pre-heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  Add the duck breast skin-side down to the hot pan, then reduce heat to medium low and cook, moving often, until the skin is golden brown and much of the fat has been rendered out.

Flip the breast over and sauté for 1 minute, then pour off the fat and place the pan in a 375 degree oven until almost medium-rare, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the duck to a cutting board and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before carving.

Meanwhile, de-glaze the pan with Armagnac, and add a small knob of butter.  Sauté diced parsley root until tender/crisp, then add garlic and thinly-sliced asparagus (a great way to use up leftover stalks) and sauté until the asparagus is tender.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slice the duck breast on a 1/4-inch bias and arrange on a warmed plate.  Spoon asparagus and pan juices over the top and garnish with blackberry/cranberry chutney.

Classic Pot Roast

Slow-cooked grass-fed chuck roast with mushroom pan gravy, fresh herbs and roasted winter vegetables..

Classic Pot Roast with Mushroom Pan Gravy and Roasted Root Vegetables

Classic Pot Roast with Mushroom Pan Gravy and Roasted Root Vegetables

Blot roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle all surfaces with kosher salt.  Wrap loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and pre-heat oven to 225 degrees.

Melt 1 tablespoon pastured butter in Dutch oven.  Blot roast dry, wiping off any remaining salt and add to the pot.  Brown 5 minutes per side without moving in between.

Add 1/2 cup Burgundy or other hearty red wine, 1 small yellow onion, chopped, 1 carrot chopped, 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, a few peppercorns and a mixture of fresh herbs such as rosemary, oregano, thyme and sage.

Cover and braise for 1 1/2 hours.  Remove from oven, add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, turn the roast, cover and return to oven until fork-tender, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, leeks and fingerling potatoes.  Dress with melted butter, season liberally with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper and roast alongside the beef for 1 hour.

Remove the beef from the oven and transfer to a cutting board.  Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest.  Meanwhile, turn the oven up to 375 degrees and let the vegetables get well browned.

Meanwhile, strain the liquid from the Dutch oven into a clean pot.  Reduce slightly over medium heat, then thicken by whisking in a bit of roux.  Add sautéed mushrooms and a little demi-glace if you have it.  Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper if needed.

Slice roast against the grain into 1/2 inch slices and arrange on a plate.  Tuck roasted vegetables alongside and ladle mushroom gravy over the beef.  Serve with horseradish on the side if you like.

Chicken a la King

Tender pieces of pastured chicken simmered in bone broth with fresh cream, sherry, nutmeg, peas and mushrooms.  Invented in the late 1800’s, this retro dish is every bit as good now as it was then..

Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King

To make roux, melt 4 oz. pastured butter over medium-low heat until it just begins to sizzle.  Add 5 oz. by weight sprouted wheat or spelt flour and whisk to combine.  Stirring continuously, continue to cook until it smells like baked bread, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

To make topping, toast a piece of sprouted wheat or spelt bread in the toaster, then tear it up into small pieces and sauté in butter and parsley until golden brown.

Gently simmer chunks of pastured chicken (I’m using thighs, skin removed) in chicken stock with a little sherry and fresh thyme until just done.

Lightly sauté halved pearl onions, wild mushrooms and a bit of red bell pepper, then stir into the chicken.

Add fresh cream, green peas and freshly-grated nutmeg and simmer 5 minutes.

Whisk roux into the chicken and simmer, stirring continuously until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.

To serve, simply spoon chicken mixture into a deep dish and top with toasted bread crumbs.


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