Porcini & chestnut mushroom loaf

Porcini & chestnut mushroom loaf

Polpettone di funghi porcini e castagne

By
From
Tuscany
Serves
4-6
Photographer
Helen Cathcart

Inspired by the amazing offerings at the markets of Tuscany, I developed this recipe with our friend Anna Hudson. The cooked mushrooms also make a wonderful pâté for crostini. Do have patience when cooking them, as the flavours intensify with time.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
30g dried porcini mushrooms
100g stale crusty wheat or gluten-free bread
150ml milk
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and lightly crushed
900g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
A few twists freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1 teaspoon dried oregano
75g walnuts, chopped finely by hand or in a food processor
25g grated parmesan
2 eggs, beaten
200g Homemade tomato sauce
or Fresh tomato passata

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced into half moons
salt
freshly ground black pepper
175ml red wine
200ml porcini stock from the dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons salted butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base and the two long sides of a 1 lb loaf tin with a strip of folded foil, allowing it to protrude from the tin by around 5 cm each side (this wide foil strip will act as handles to remove the loaf later). Grease the foil with olive oil.
  2. Soak the dried mushrooms in a bowl of 400 ml warm water and the bread in a separate bowl with the milk for about 10 minutes until soft.
  3. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat with 3 tablespoons of water. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7–10 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, drain the soaked porcini mushrooms (keep the soaking liquid). Add the porcini and chestnut mushrooms to the pan with the seasoning and herbs, and cook over a high heat until the water has evaporated. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until they start to catch on the bottom of the pan, then remove from the heat and transfer the mushrooms to a bowl. Chop them very finely by hand or in a food processor, keeping some coarse texture, then return them to the bowl. (This is the mushroom pâté.)
  4. Squeeze the bread and discard the milk. Crumble it into the bowl of mushrooms and add the walnuts, Parmesan and eggs and stir. Spoon into the greased tin and flatten the top with a spatula. Spoon over the tomato sauce. Put the tin into a roasting dish and fill the dish with cold water until it comes halfway up the loaf tin to make a bain marie. Cook for 30–40 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Use the foil to remove the loaf from the tin and serve on a warm plate.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat with 5 tablespoons of water, the onion, a good pinch of salt and a few twists of black pepper and cook for 20 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add a tablespoon or two more of water to keep them soft, if necessary (you don’t want them to crispen up). Pour in the wine and let it evaporate over a low heat for 10 minutes to reduce the liquid by half. If there is sediment in the bowl from the mushrooms, drain the soaking liquid through a piece of paper towel in a sieve over a jug to remove it. Add the mushroom stock to the pan and turn up the heat to boil. Reduce the heat and let it bubble gently for 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir through. Taste and season if necessary. Remove from the heat and set aside until the loaf is ready. The sauce can be blended to make it thicker and smooth or left with the softened onion. Briefly reheat it and serve it in a warm jug with the loaf. The loaf is lovely with Vegetables Steamed in Paper or sautéed spinach.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Caldesi
Tuscany
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